April 2024

“But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised, as he said.” Matthew 28:5-6a

Dear Redeemer Family:
We now celebrate the season, which is central to our faith, Easter. Christ is raised victorious from the dead by the glory of the Father. It is the most glorious event in all of history. But it cannot really be explained. It can only be proclaimed. The angel in the lesson above just tells the women very matter of factly, “He has been raised.” But that is really all that needs to be said.

Years ago, I heard the story of a pastor who got up to preach on Easter Sunday to his congregation. He walked up to the pulpit, jumped as high as he could with his arms outstretched over his head, and cried out as loud as he could, “He is risen!” He then turned around and went back to his seat. Some people in his congregation were shocked. They expected more. But he delivered what is considered by many to be the best, and most succinct, sermon on the Resurrection. He said it all. He said it well. He said what needed to be said.

Again, the traditional exchange of greetings on Easter Sunday is like it. “He is risen.” “He is risen, indeed.” That says it all.

We are saved. He has won the victory. And so, rejoice. Alleluia! Have a blessed Easter, day and season!

He is risen! He is risen, indeed!
Pastor Rose

March 2024

“Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us keep the feast.” 1 Cor. 5:7-8

Dear Redeemer Family:
The above biblical text is the Gospel Acclamation for Easter Sunday. Did I just write down Easter Sunday? Yes. The last day of March is Easter Sunday this year. The day where our faith and hope ultimately rests. The day when the Church “pulls out all of the stops.” It is the single most important day of the year for Christians. It is when the victory is won and won totally. That’s the good news. The bad news, if you will, is that until we get there, we still must go through the rest of Lent. But is that really bad news?

Yes, Lent is a time of discipline, and repentance. But it is also a time of cleansing and renewal. This year, during our Wednesday night services, we are exploring something different, something ancient, and something which is kind of forgotten, though we do it often. We are looking at the concept of “Lament.” It is so overlooked, that the word itself is rare in our modern literature. Yet, we do it informally all the time, often privately. But we do it, utilize the concept, in its weakest form, namely, to complain. That is pretty weak.

Biblically, lament is a much stronger concept. Most of the biblical laments are not just complaints. Rather, they emerge from deep pain within the individual or nation. They come from the depths of the soul. And while they can indeed be seen as complaints about life’s circumstances, they have a much deeper understanding. They are cries to God to intervene, to make things right, even to forgive. The Bible is filled with laments. Over a third of the 150 psalms are considered lament psalms. The prophets and wisdom literature of the Bible are filled with laments. In other words, it is all good to cry out to God in our pain and suffering and ask for succor. It can even be said that it is expected.

I think that looking at the concept of lament during the Season of Lent is very appropriate. At the end of the Season of Lent, our God does step in and intervene for us. That is Easter! During Lent, we remember our Lord’s journey to Jerusalem and the waiting cross. Our Lord takes our suffering upon himself. He intervenes for us. He dies for us. And then, on Easter Sunday, Our Lord rises victorious over the tomb. That is the supreme intervention. In the Resurrection, our ancient enemies, the reasons for our sufferings; sin, death and evil; are destroyed. We are freed. We are saved.

Yes, it is good to lament now. It can cleanse and renew us. It is a good lesson for this Season of Lent. It can, quite well, lead us to the Resurrection. And there, we are fully restored. And crying and tears shall be no more.

In Christ,
Pastor Rose