March 2018

“One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matt. 4:4


Dear Redeemer Family:

The Season of Lent is in some respects really a time of shifting the eyes. We purposefully strive to shift our eyes away from this temporary mortal world in which we find ourselves, and try to concentrate more on the eternal world of God. We find ourselves in two realms, to paraphrase St. Augustine. Christians are in this world, but not of it. Our allegiance, if you will, is to the eternal realms of the Kingdom of God. The forty days of the Lenten Season is to remind us of that. We try to more consciously live out our faith. As we walk through this earth, we may lose, or forget, the things that come from God. We may become blinded by the physical things that surround us. The very basics of life may interfere with our walks of faith. Literally, food, shelter and clothing may move to the center of our lives. And we forget that it is at the center of our lives that God belongs.


The traditional disciplines of Lent have been used for centuries, really millennia, as methods to remind us of what is important. More attention to our prayer lives by supplementing ourselves with Lenten devotions to remind us that we are not alone in this world. We have a heavenly Father who is with us all of the time of our lives. Our days should begin and end with thoughts of God, and in between as well. The tradition of fasting, though it is now most commonly just the giving up of meat on Fridays, teaches that literally, we “do not live by bread alone.” There is something far greater that gives us daily sustenance. The old tradition of giving something up for Lent is not just a form of self-denial. Traditionally, a person gave up something that they really enjoyed. Its purpose was really to teach that the things of this earth should not have a hold over us. And many people over the centuries, rather than giving something up, instead try to do some good towards others intentionally during this season. I personally like that way better.


These exercises are really of a spiritual nature. That may be a surprise to some. But, here is the real shocker. The intention was not that they only be done during the forty days of Lent. But that the Christian should continue to keep up these practices after Lent was finished, and so continue to grow spiritually and walk more fully in their faith. The purpose of Lent, among other emphases, is to teach us that truly, we do not live by these outward observances, “but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”


May we all grow closer to God during this Lenten Season, whether we observe the ancient practices or not. But, I think that you will find that they do indeed help.

In Christ,

Pastor Rose

April 2017

“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. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him. This is my message for you.” Matthew 28:5-7


Dear Redeemer Family:

Behold the message of Easter Morning. Indeed, it is the message of all messages. It is what the angels tell the women as the go to the tomb early on that morning.


There is no doubt that there was a reason to be afraid. The Roman guards were literally frozen in place, like in a catatonic state. Jesus’ body was gone. And the angel is just sitting there calmly, as if awaiting the women’s arrival. The women were undoubtedly terrified. But those words, “Do not be afraid,” always preface a message of great importance. And this message is the one of greatest importance.


The Gospel of Matthew places the death and resurrection of Jesus in the context of the Roman Empire of death resisting God’s empire of life enacted in Jesus. In the resurrection story, Pilate and the religious leaders send guards to make sure the tomb is secure. When the heavenly messenger appears and rolls back the stone to announce the good news, the guards shake with fear and are like dead men. This turnaround shows the ironic character of the good news. The guards are now dead men. Jesus is alive. The empire of death is dead. The empire of God’s life-giving power rules.


This is the message of Christianity par excellence. Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Not even Death could hold Our Lord. With Christ’s resurrection everything is now changed. He has broken for all the curse under which humanity has lived since the time of Adam. The powers of sin, death and evil; even the power of the God’s Own Law, are now all broken by this upheaving event. By Christ’s rising, the old world is turned upside down. And we are changed.


This is now the state in which we live. We are to live for life. We are freed from the power of the Law. We are to resist the forces of evil. We no longer see death as the end, but now a gate through which we will pass to eternal life. Everything has now changed. And the part which we all too often neglect to notice is the depth to which we are changed. We have been raised with Christ. We are no longer sinful and unclean in God’s sight. But, through our baptism and faith in Christ, we have even been made to be children of God, co-heirs with Christ!


This is the joyful message of Easter Morning. Proclaim it always in your lives, and shout it from the mountain tops, and the valley depths of your lives.

He is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Pastor Rose