From Pastor Oslund
Birds. Crisp fresh air. Thawed blue water. Spring is here inviting us outside. We can’t help but notice the new life! New life that seems to come just around Easter each year!
New life is happening all around us, not just outside. Christ is risen and continues to give new life in the midst of us too. He’s delivering addicts to life in recovery, he’s delivering those struggling with mental health trials to new life in community, and he’s raising the dead to eternal life!
We gather on Thursday, May 14th to hear that Jesus has ascended in order that we have a living Lord of heaven and earth. A Lord who, despite our attempts to think we can take care of life on our own, has been raised to save us from living for ourselves alone.
This Lord of all heaven and earth is creating new life as we continue to get to know not only each other but our neighbors in our community. He’s actively drawing us together for the sake of building each other up.
His building up of our community is evident with our group of young people who have registered for our summer mystery trip. You see, we don’t just register in February then travel in August. We have monthly meetings to get to know more than names. We get to know each other through games and Bible Study too. By the time we travel in August we will have no outsiders in our group. By August we will have stories of time shared together and newly formed trust. We will have new friendships to last far beyond our travels for one week.
As our young people have been meeting and intentionally creating a cohesive group for the purposes of traveling together we are realizing that these relationships will go far beyond the trip in August. We’re learning to trust and share life in ways that will last a life time. And I wonder how it is that these kinds of new relationships are happening in our lives when we’re not part of this intentional kind of group building effort? Aren’t we too ever challenged to learn to care about those we’d not typically chose to spend time with but when they are in our midst we reach out or are challenged to reach out.
Because we’re a small congregation we think we know each other pretty well and many of us do. However, there are those in our midst that we don’t know and are on the edge of the community. This isn’t our intent but it happens when we find comfort continuing to visit with those we already know. But how is it then that the new life we have is shared with the brother or sister who shows up in Christ and yet is a stranger in our midst?
I’m convinced that God’s work is all around us and we don’t know how and when he is working to build up his kingdom. But, we can trust that in our lives, he is ever leading and guiding for the sake of his kingdom and he is leading us to reach out, to see the one looking for belonging and to include those searching for meaning.
And so it is that we gather on Sundays for worship and fellowship, time to get to know each other. We reach out to our neighborhoods both our church building neighborhood and the neighborhoods where we live. And perhaps we notice his living work the least where he works persistently through forgiveness that is shared when old friendships are restored, through healthcare treatments and struggles and as he leads us through the valley of the shadow of death.
The new life that Jesus is continuing to deliver is ever present and life changing. What does it mean to be called children of a living Lord? It means he’s going to change our life! He’s going to bring life where there is death; he’s going to create where we think all is hopeless.
Thanks be to God for you and this life we share in him! I look forward to seeing you soon!
Pastor Amy Oslund