From the Pastor
Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As we enter the month of June, we will experience three shifts in the church year. On the first Sunday in June, we will experience the last Sunday in the Easter season, Then on June 9, the second Sunday, is the Day of Pentecost. (By the way, remember to wear red.) The following Sunday, we start what is commonly referred to as “Ordinary Time” or Sundays after Pentecost. Over
the Easter season, I came across two stories about faith in the former
Soviet Union (Russia) that I would like to share with you.
first is the story of the Marxist movement in Russia in 1918. At that
time people were fanning out across the country to preach the Gospel of
Marx. A group of 7,000 peasants were assembled in a large hall in
Moscow. They were brought to hear a speech on Religion as the opiate of
the people. The commissar delivered the speech with passion and zeal,
with Lenin-like charisma. He explained how communism would replace the
Christian religion. He closed with reference to a childish, na´ve,
ridiculous fable called the resurrection of Jesus. People listened
attentively. When he was done, he was pleased with himself. In
confidence he asked if there were any who wanted to ask a question or
make a comment to come up. The hall was quiet. Silence. Then a
26-year-old priest fresh from Seminary came forward. The Commissar
looked at him with contempt and scorn. “You have two minutes, not a
second more”, the commissar said. “I only need few seconds”, answered
the priest. The priest went to the platform, looked out over the vast
crowd; and in a loud and defiant voice said: “He is Risen!” and 7,000
people, with one voice, roared back “He is risen indeed!”
past Tuesday in my devotions, I received this story, and I shared it at
our council meeting. This was story told by George H.W. Bush. He was
Vice president and was sent to attend the funeral of Leonid Brezhnev.
The funeral was as precise and stoic as the communist regime. No tears
were seen; no emotion displayed. With one exception, Mr. Bush told how
Brezhnev’s widow was the last person to witness the body before the
coffin was closed. For several seconds she stood at his side and then
reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband’s chest.
the hour of her husband’s death, she didn’t turn to Karl Marx, nor to
Lenin; not to Kruschev nor the communist party. In the face of death,
she turned to a Nazarene Carpenter named Jesus - and to the sign of his
cross. The ending place of all human
possibility as it awaits God’s possibility. She turned to the cross
which is the sign of the beginning of God’s possibility for us in
story really says it all. Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is who
we are. As people of faith we have a message to share and we can’t help
but to share it. Jesus is risen! In face of
the endless, powerful, death dealing tales of this world; Amidst the
empty tombs you hoped would give you life; Amidst all the problems of
our personal lives; Amidst the pain of grief and the sufferings of a
world that seems to be killing itself (and us); amidst our hunger for a
life that matters in the face of death; Jesus is risen! He invades this
world and this life with all its doubts and sorrows, its anxieties and
fears, its sin and guilt, its grave mounds and tombstones. God assaults
the powers of sin and evil and death to deliver you from their bondage.
We who have been grasped by the promise now have a grand, wonderful,
life-giving message for the world. Christ is risen! He lives! And in
him, so do you.
As you enter into “ordinary time” – don’t let go of the Easter promise. Carry the message with you and share it – Jesus is Risen! Alleluia! If you will carry that in all that you do, it will be far from “ordinary” it will be EXTRODINARY.
p.s. June 9 is Pentecost. Don’t forget to wear red and let’s live into the work of the Holy Spirit!
p.s.s. - Did you know that Luther said. . . . ??? “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”