Pastor's Message - 2019 May Newsletter


Easter Time 2019

 

On Easter Sunday I shared a story that I have always loved, especially at Easter. It was 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, naïve, 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 second more, the commissar said. I only need few seconds, answered the priest. The priest went to platform, looked out over vast crowd; and in a loud & defiant voice said: “He is Risen!” and 7,000 people, with one voice, roared back “He is risen indeed!”

 

That 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.

 

I also shared this 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.

In the hour of her husband’s death, she didn’t turn to Karl Marx, or to Lenin; not to Kruschev or 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 Jesus.

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 your 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 - it’s anxieties and fears - it’s sin and guilt - it’s 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.

 

Happy Easter Season,

Pastor Randy

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