Message From The Pastor: Ahh, Spring! - I have a friend from Australia, who came to study for his Doctor of Ministry at Andover Newton. When Easter arrived, he experienced it as a “revelation.” His word. Having spent his entire life in the Southern Hemisphere, he never celebrated the resurrection in springtime. Their seasons are the opposite of what we know. Christmas vacation is summer vacation! Go figure.
One of the customs of First Congregational Church of Walpole I discovered, after arriving last May, is sharing “God sightings” at the beginning of meetings. It still takes me by surprise. Looking for God, everywhere we go, is an excellent spiritual discipline.
God IS everywhere, right? In Genesis God commanded us to fill the earth. In Matthew, Jesus told the disciples to make disciples of all nations. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed throughout the world, on all seven continents! Even Antarctica. I know that because I once met a Baptist Air Force chaplain who was stationed there. While we may find God everywhere and anywhere, we may not FEEL that presence. And yet, 1 Thessalonians tells us to, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.” (1Thess 5:16-18) We do live in a difficult world at a difficult time. So did the saints of the early church to whom the letter was written.
My friend from Australia was on the other side of the world from his wife and young children, working on an advanced degree, but he was open to a revelation on an Easter that was unlike any other in his life. Easter is about new life and resurrection. Easter is also about transformation. Remember, when two of the disciples walked with the risen Christ at the end of Luke’s gospel, they did not recognize him. They invited him to join them for dinner. Then, they recognized him in the breaking of bread.
My prayer for this Easter is that we will proclaim the Good News, in ways that are actually new. As Christ’s disciples in Walpole, I hope we find and share new ways of living, instead of the old ways that don’t work anymore (if they ever did). May our ministry make God’s love real here, and in a world without end.
- In Christ, Richard Malmberg