If you have Facebook or a smart phone, occasionally you will receive reminders of “memories”. On Facebook they are posts that you shared and on the smartphone, they are pictures that you took, reminding you of family, grandchildren, friends, or a trip taken.
Reviewing these memories can sometimes be quite interesting. Recently my photo memories from the last three years are filled with very little. They showed the joy when we welcomed our granddaughter Carly, in the midst of the pandemic, but also brought sadness as we were not able to see her until almost three months later. The pictures that came up are those our daughter sent at that time. As I was looking at them, I realized that this Pandemic has changed all of us in some way, at times causing chaos in our lives. The emotions I felt when I was called to Marshfield UMC, Conway and St. Mark’s, the anxiety and uncertainties of meeting new people.
The memories have been great and challenging, as this past month has proven. Bringing sad memories of people God put into my life, leaving life too soon. Jeff Kuhrt, Dwayne Schuldt, Pat Goodrich, Karen Johnson, and Chris Young, bring smiles to my face in my memories, but also tears to my eyes. I think of these precious people, and I am glad for the memories that they left with me. Sometimes life just becomes a little overwhelming, doesn’t it?
The good news my friends, Easter is coming. This is a beautiful reminder that we are not abandoned by God. It is a beautiful reminder that this is not the end of our story. Again, it is a beautiful reminder that no matter what happens, we are never separated from the love of God. Never. Ever. Neither are those who hunger and thirst. Nor those who endure hardship or persecution. As the Apostle Paul wrote, in our verse nothing is able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” On Easter morning we will once again discover the stone rolled back. We will once again celebrate the empty tomb. We will once again proclaim that through His resurrection, Jesus has looked death right in the eye and defeated it for all of us. Yes, in the midst of our memories, joy and sadness, chaos and uncertainty, all of those emotions and realities that God’s children are experiencing today will still exist on Easter Sunday and the days beyond.
My prayer is that this Easter, you look at it with new eyes, providing you with the truth you need to move forward through all of the coming days, weeks and months with hope. Giving you the strength you need to step into tomorrows with faith. The audacity to look chaos, sadness and uncertainty right in the eye and defeat it by proclaiming God’s love and grace and mercy for all.