May 2012 Newsletter

Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain, wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;  love lives again, that with the dead has been:  Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving or in pain, Jesus’ touch can call us back to life again, fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:  Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.                                                                                (by J.M.C. Crum)

Dear Friends in Christ,

There is a hope-filled verse in the 21st chapter of the Book of Revelation that reads ‘And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See I am making all things news.” (Rev. 21:5)  Our God is a God who makes things new.

In the first chapter of Genesis, God is making things new as God speaks into existence the whole of creation. Later, when the wickedness of humanity proves to be too much to bear.  God decides to cleanse the earth.  God tells Noah to build an ark.  Noah preserves a remnant of God’s creation, so that when the flood is over the earth can begin life anew.

When the nation of Israel is destroyed and its leaders carried into exile in Babylon, it seems like the destiny of the Hebrew people is to fade into anonymity.  But then God raises up Cyrus, the King of Persia, to defeat the Babylonians, and Israel receives the chance at new life.  The Israelites get to return home, to rebuild Jerusalem, and to restore the temple.  The time comes for a new beginning.

In the gospel of Matthew, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary come to the tomb.  They come prepared to mourn a painful ending.  They come to say a final good-bye to their friend and Lord.  Their hearts are wintry, grieving, and in pain.  All their hopes and dreams have died.  All their happy days with Jesus appear to be over.  The future feels bleak.  An end has come.

It’s interesting, however, the poetic sensibilities of God.  The women who watched Jesus’ body be laid in the tomb on a Friday afternoon, just before the Sabbath began; these same women return to the tomb on the first day of the week, just as day is dawning.  Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, thinking that all is done, discover instead that God is doing a new thing, God is bringing new life out of death.  There is a new beginning, God is making all things new.

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “It’s always darkest before the dawn.”  There is a certain mystery to the way our God acts.  Often out of the darkest pain and the deepest troubles, God brings the greatest hope with the unexpected promise of a bright tomorrow.  Only our God could transform the tragedy and injustice of Christ’s death on the cross into a means of victory over hatred and sin and death.  Only God could turn the darkness of Good Friday into a radiant Easter dawn.

All of us go through times of discouragement in our lives.  All of us face moments that feel like the absolute end, experiences that are painfully crushing.  We have all, from time to time, felt like Mary Magdalene and the other Mary as they sadly approached Jesus’ tomb.  Our God, however, does not abandon us in our sorrow, does not desert us in our brokeness, does not allow the powers of hatred, sin, and death, to have the final word.  “See, I am making all things new.”

God gives us a new day, a new week, light to pierce our darkness, life that overcomes death, unexpected hope born out of pain, a new beginning, new life in Jesus Christ.

In this Easter season, may God, who raised Jesus Christ from the dead, give you new hope, new purpose, new life, now and into the future, even into eternity.  When your hearts are wintry, grieving, and in pain, take heart, for Jesus’ touch can call us back to life again.  Christ is risen!  Alleluia!    

In Jesus’ Love,                                                                                          Rev. Peggy Ann Sauerhoff