April 1, 2021
Dear Saints of Trinity,
You’ll be receiving this on April Fools Day. Makes all kinds of sense when you look at the story we remember and honor this week. Today, Maundy Thursday, who would have ever believed that the one we seek to follow, our teacher, Savior, and friend, would literally stoop to wash the feet of his followers, us included. Who would have believed that he would have sacrificed himself so that we might more fully understand how we are to live our lives for each other and the world? But he did. And that makes him exactly the kind of “fool” I would want to follow. And if that wasn’t enough, the lesson in foolishness got a whole lot more challenging. Here is a man who lived his life in ways that cost him his life; lived it continually challenging those who would abuse, or deny, or seek to overpower others. He lived a life of the kind of love that, as I said, would cost him his life, a love of sacrificial giving. So on this Thursday, if you have communion elements and want to partake of them, remember their purpose. They are to remind us that this one who loved us continues to wash our feet. The bread and cup are reminders of his life and death, and of his expectations around how we are to live. Then comes Friday.
The cost to Jesus was so much more than we could ever have imagined. He was put to death. He died on a cross…a cross, a tortuous and demeaning cross, and would do it again if given the chance to redo or relive his life. We’re worth it. As I look again at Good Friday, for years I’ve said that I really don’t care whether you believe Jesus died on that cross to save us from sin, or if you believe he died on that cross so that we might fully understand how we are to live; sacrificially for one another and the world. The fact is that he died on that cross. And that’s what tomorrow is all about. So on this Good Friday, please spend some time contemplating that death. It was a death based in love. It was a death based in grace. It was a death so that three days later we might more fully understand the sum of the parts of Thursday and Friday; that no matter who we are, where we are, what we are, or even what we’ve done, there is always the possibility of resurrection and new life. That, friends, is God’s greatest gift to us. And sometimes, like in the case of a heart attack, we are reminded of just how fleeting life can be. We choose… each of us chooses to live the way we live; as people who offer that Jesus kind of love and grace, or as people who take them away. Which do you choose? Contemplate that tomorrow.
One of my greatest mentors and teachers, although he never knew it, was a man named Tony Campolo. I spent a short time with him, ultimately watching him teach and preach. One of Tony’s greatest sermons was titled, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Coming.” Well, it’s Friday as we continue in this time of Covid, in this time of our pastor having a heart attack, of living in a time that seems to continually whirl and swirl around us…yup, it’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming. It’s challenging and dark and nerve-wracking, and confusing, and filled with anxiety…but Easter is coming. Resurrection is coming. New life is coming. And it’s already here. As I write these words I’ve never felt them more deeply than I do today. A week and a half ago it felt like I was at death’s door. But today, as I look out on an alpine lake; pristine, calm, and reflective, I am aware that resurrection has come. As I share a Maundy Thursday dinner with Dorothy and we exchange elements of communion, I think of how often she very literally washed my feet last week. She lifted me out of the darkness, as did the EMTs, the nurses, the cardiologist, the other medical staff, and each of you as you prayed. Each in your own way helps Friday become Easter Sunday. I feel overwhelmingly blessed.
I’m doing well as I continue to heal, and will continue to do what I need to do to get back with you. My goal remains the same; my birthday on May 7. You have great leaders who are taking care of you in ways you may not be aware of. Together, they are exploring what’s best for you as I recover. Our District Superintendent, Rev. Mark Galang, has stepped in to make sure that things are covered in ways they need to be covered. Patricia and the SPRC, working alongside Mark, are making sure that worship and sermons are and will be covered. This is their version of foot washing for you. So, it may be Friday, but Sunday’s coming, and the darkness, no matter how deep, could ever overcome the power of the light of Christ. I can’t wait to see your shining faces in the very near future. Thank you for the quilt and the shawl, the cards and letters, the books, the prayer, and the love. You need to know that each one is adding to my healing. I love you and will see you soon, and that is no April Fools joke.
Some Concerns that we have:
- Pastor Brad and Dorothy for healing following Pastor Brad’s heart attack.
- For those who continue to go through physical struggles, those who are dealing with cancer, or other health situations. Prayers for those who are emotionally feeling lost and alone.
- For all those who are ill from the covid-19 virus; for those families who have lost loved ones to the virus; for all the first responders/essential workers; and for those who are nervous about getting shots.
- For peace in our country.
- For smooth delivery of the vaccine. And please pray for all of the volunteers.
- For Katherine Parker, missionary to Nepal.