April 2021

“He is risen! He is risen, indeed!”

Dear Redeemer Family:
We didn’t really get to celebrate Easter together last year. The pandemic closed down all of the in person worship services. We did manage to start streaming our worship services, which was a learning process in itself. Thank you to Charles and Stephanie Roop for diving into that process for us, and sometimes, it was a painful process. And, we continue to stream our services, which is good for many people who are still unable to attend services in the building. But, we didn’t really get to celebrate Easter today. Well, we did get to celebrate the tail end of it together when we briefly were able to reopen the church services during the end of Spring and beginning of Summer. You see, Easter isn’t a day. It is a season. Easter this is year is April 4th through May 22nd. Easter, as a season, is fifty days long. And it ends, on the Church calendar, in the Church itself raised up by the Spirit at Pentecost. And if you want to even further, every day is a celebration of Easter. Why? Because every day is a declaration of the Resurrection of Christ for us.

The Easter season starts out with dwelling on the resurrection appearances, and then moves back in the gospels to Jesus’ farewell speeches while simultaneously moving forward in the book of Acts as the gospel spreads. During the Season of Easter, there are no Old Testament lessons. Rather, we get a “First Lesson” from the book of Acts. Each week we are called not only to look for the risen Christ’s presence deeper and deeper in our own lives, but also to ponder where the Spirit of the risen Christ might be pushing us deeper into the world.

The time after Pentecost will offer us plenty of opportunity to sink back into the story of Jesus and his earthly ministry, but in the Easter season, the ministry of Christ is the ministry of the church. The bodies that proclaim the resurrection are our bodies – baptized, fed at the table, and sent out to embrace a changing world. There is no gap between the first-century church and our twenty-first-century joys and concerns, because we are one with that church in the communion of saints.

No, Easter is not a one day celebration. It is a celebration which began on the morning of the Resurrection of Our Lord in 30AD, and has continued to the present time. And it will continue into the future. The celebration of Christ’s being raised from the dead is the turning point of all of world history. And it is the date from which we count the world and ourselves being made new creations in Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Thanks be to God!

In Christ,
Pastor Rose

May 2020

“But we had hoped…” Luke 24:21

Dear Redeemer Family:
“But we had hoped…” On the third Sunday of Easter the Lukan text reports that the two disciples on the Emmaus road say to Jesus, “But we had hoped…”

Easter is the season to proclaim with joy and boldness that all in which we had previously falsely hoped has been put to death. Now is the time to raise our voice to proclaim the one true hope – an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading – the hope of Jesus Christ risen from the dead.

`”But we had hoped…” We had hoped that this Covid 19 virus would go away. We had hoped that our lives being shut down and our having to “Shelter at Home” would be a thing of the past. We had hoped that we would not have to practice this social distancing, and not have to wear these face masks when we do come out of our homes to be in public and get life’s necessities. We had hoped that everyone would be back at work by now. In our pride, we had hoped that we as a people, as a society, were greater than this. Instead, we find ourselves brought low by a creature too small
to be seen by the human eye. That is our hubris. We forgot the past and our numerous encounters with pestilence over the centuries. Pestilence has always been the great humbler of the human race. In time, this one too will pass. But there is not much that we as a people can do about it. We can applaud the valiant efforts of our medical practitioners and our emergency personnel. We can cheer on their heroic efforts.

But we have to do this from a distance. And we can hope. We can hope here.
And we can hope for that which is beyond us.

“But we had hoped…” We had hoped for a better diagnosis, and we were disappointed. We had hoped for a better return on our investment, and the market failed us. Indeed, the global economy has been basically shut down. We had hoped that homelessness and hunger would somehow have miraculously disappeared in our nation, rather than becoming worse, and the stark truth stands before us that without our own participation and sacrifice in its eradication, there is no hope. I’m helping with a task force now along these lines. The issue is simple. If a homeless person tests positive for Covid 19 and has to be quarantined, where in this county can they go? It is a scenario which no one had considered previously. As of yet, we have no answer.

But, we have hope.
In other words, this is the season, a week of weeks, in which to unabashedly proclaim that the false projects and easy answers on which we repeatedly pin our hopes have been pinned instead on the cross and destroyed in the empty tomb.

For the first time there is new hope. Real hope. Hope that even death cannot destroy. Our hope ultimately rests in Our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Pastor Rose