From Pastor William D. Leitch…Throughout May, we will hear words such as these each week:
– Doing the right things does not guarantee that one will not experience difficulties, hardships, rejection, or even suffering.
– Jesus promises that he goes to prepare a place for his followers in his Father’s house.
– Jesus does not leave his followers orphaned. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus comes to abide with his disciples of every generation.
– Amid religious, social, and economic divisions, we seek the unity that Jesus had with his Father. Made one in baptism, we go forth to live our faith in the world, eager for the unity that God intends for the whole human family.
It seems to me that when I hear these words, I lean toward hearing them about myself. It seems to be all about me. However, when I see all the others in our world, it changes me and how I must think and act.
The Good Shepherd gathers us all. He prepares a place for everyone. There are none left out. Caught up in God’s generosity, we should see a change in ourselves and how we live out our faith. “We go forth to live our faith in the world.”
As a nation, there tends to be a fear of all the “others”. We see this in the debate about receiving refugees. Our bishops from the ELCA went to Washington, D.C., recently to break down these fears and show them that we are in this together. We are here to “prepare a place” for those orphaned and those left with no way to survive on their own.
In 2013, the population of Syria was almost 23 million people; I did not find a more recent census, probably because that nation is so focused on survival that it is no longer focused on its people.
I wondered if there was any place that was safe to raise your family in Syria. There are currently about 13 million displaced people still living in Syria. There are about 6 million refugees who have fled the country. A little less than 5 million are registered as refugees somewhere.
Do the math. It appears that only about 4 million people of Syria are still living some sort of a stable life (whatever that is). I cannot imagine how these uprooted people can ever recover, even if the war stopped today. It cannot happen unless “we go forth to live our faith in the world, eager for the unity that God intends for the whole human family”.
This is true for Syria, every nation, Ohio, and the greater Warren area.
In the words of Bishop Allende, NEOS: “The fear of death controls our life much more than we realize, but the resurrection of Jesus takes the teeth out of death. Easter shows us that there is life beyond the grave. Easter declares that death does not have the last say.”
We serve a risen Savior – a living Savior.
Our resurrected Lord brings new life, rekindles hope, sustains us, and recreates us in circumstances that would seem to be the most hopeless. That is certainly good news.
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
Youth Car Wash…Our Youth will have a Car Wash at Living Lord on Saturday, May 20, from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm. They will be selling burgers and brats to folks as they wait for their car. The proceeds will be put towards the costs of Servant Week in June and to help pay for expenses for the ELCA National Youth Gathering in June 2018.
From Pastor Ann Marie Winters…It’s Easter Season throughout the month of May…
“Go to Galilee”.
“The young man said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” (Mark 16:6-7)
“We have just experienced the resurrection of Jesus at Easter, and we now have the question in our hearts, ‘If Jesus is risen, where is he? The young man in Mark’s gospel says that we will find him in Galilee. That is the place where Jesus was baptized, and where he began his ministry. He went about healing the sick, restoring wrecked lives, and even raising the dead. He fears nothing and shuns no one. And if that is where Jesus can be found, that is where we find ourselves too! We are his Body, doing the same work.” (Fredrick Niedner)
It costs us something to be the Body of Christ in the world. We have to roll up our sleeves and get down to business. There are the sick to visit, the hungry to feed, the needy to clothe. If we, as the church, are going to witness to the marks of the crucifixion on the body of Jesus, we are going toned to go out of our ordinary routines and put aside our personal agendas to carry the cross of Christ. All around us is where Jesus can be found – wherever we find ourselves. Let us join him in being the Good News. Go to Galilee with him!
Alleluia, Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed, Alleluia!
Pastor Ann Marie Winters