Finding good in ALL things – An offering from Verlene Springer

Isaiah 49:8-9

“Come out,” to those who are in darkness, “Show yourselves.”

We live in a mixed reality.  Perfect people or perfect institutions don’t exist. Expecting perfectionism, in ourselves or others, may leave us resentful, judgmental, or dissatisfied. Jesus’ life was an example of non-judgmental inclusion. Paradoxically, the only people He seemed to exclude were those who judged and excluded others.  Our task may include a patient attempt to find the true, the good, and the beautiful part that exists in all, even the most problematic people or institutions…even ourselves.

(c) 2018 Verlene Springer

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An offering from Evelyn: He is risen, indeed!

Up from the grave He arose,

With a mighty triumph o’er His foes

He arose a Victor from the dark domain,Easter Lily

And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.

He arose! He arose!

Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Refrain from Christ Arose by Robert Lowry 1874

 

Christ’s resurrection victory means he conquered not only the foes of His day, but He also conquered my foes. Through the years my foes have changed. My personality has not changed so my attractions and my weaknesses have followed me through the passages and transitions of my life. Because Jesus arose from the tomb, I have been freed by God’s love and grace. He lives in me through the power of the Holy Spirit. I am not defeated by occasional loneliness and anxiety. I am able to face the unknown of aging with confidence and hope.

What foes has the Risen Christ conquered in your life?

He is risen, indeed!

© Evelyn Pope 2015

An offering from Amy:

I am created new.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Luke 24:5

How slow I am to embrace new life in Christ.Untitled

I’ve spent time wrestling in the Lenten desert with who I am called to be. I’ve waited painful hours from the garden to the cross to carry that, which needs to die, to the tomb…reluctance to serve as I am called, impatience with God’s timing, pride, my desire to control. And in pre-dawn prayer I have known Christ’s renewal. I have been amazed, as I’ve experienced God’s love in and through me. Yet, I want to return to the tomb to retrieve my old ways in disbelief that I’ve actually been made new. I keep looking for the dead to see if it’s really dead rather than rejoicing in the living.

In the crucified Christ I am forgiven. In the risen Christ, I am a new creation. I surrender, Holy Spirit, to live in trust and joy among the living.

(c) 2015 Amy Moore

An offering from Donnie: God Has Chosen Me

He is risen and has given me himself as the example upon which my ministry is to be lived out. This was first shown to me in the Father’s relationship to Jesus and by extension,

2005-7-Bee-Balm-with-Orange-Butterfly4Jesus’ relationship to me. The heart of that relationship consists of reaching out in love and concern for all. This happens in and through the intimacy I am called to by Jesus: “I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.” (John 15:15)

That is pretty heady stuff—intimacy with Jesus–but if I am ever to go out and be of service to others, that intimacy has to be cultivated and not by myself, that is the Lord’s work, accomplished in and through the power of the Spirit. So with his Resurrection, I am given my walking papers—go and reach out to others in love and concern. Alleluia!

(c) 2015 Donnie Hawley

An offering from Dorothy: Known to them in the breaking of the bread…

Jesus walked unrecognized with two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection and was not known to them until the breaking of the bread at the evening meal (Luke 24:31). breadEach time we take communion we, too, can know Christ again and again in this sacrament. After my mother died, I was in a deep state of grief. One Sunday at the altar rail during Eucharist, I felt an indescribable peace, a profound realization that Jesus and my mother were somehow together there in that moment. He is risen, indeed! He is there in the breaking of the bread, offering His love and His grace to all who will accept the gift.

(c) 2015 Dorothy Castle

An offering from Deborah: He lives within us all…

He is risen!birds-of-north-america_t4868

Like many others, I  draw closer to my Creator when I pause to appreciate the great outdoors.  There is just something about the overwhelming beauty and complexity of nature that seems to authoritatively proclaim His majesty.  Sadly though, much of this gift of creation is ill-used.  From global warming to overfishing and animal abuse, from the destruction of incomprehensible swaths of rainforest to massive water waste, it is a sad proclamation of how disconnected man is from his role of stewardship when it comes to caring for the environment.  And not only sad, but demoralizing and seemingly hopeless except for one very simple and very important belief: Jesus lives.  He lives within us all.  Thus, I can rely on his strength to have the courage to do my part to care for his creation.  And as I do my part, my hope grows with the reminder that Jesus’ power to save is greater than all the ills of the world combined.

(c) 2015 Deborah Bouis

An offering from Debra: Joy in being alive…

He is risen, indeed!

I love the beginning of spring.  I love sitting outside with the pups and a cup of coffee, watching the sky lighten, hearing the birds wake up and start to sing, feeling the breeze soften as the day awakens.  I IMG_2365especially love watching the leaves overhead seem to burst forth overnight, their tender, pale green shoots rendering what were stark, bare branches to those bursting with life.  I walk around exhilarated this time of year, singing more often than not.  If I ever thought God was nowhere to be found I must have had my eyes closed.

We’re lucky the Easter season coincides with this miracle of nature.  My Lenten focus on where I have missed the mark gives way to a generalized joy in being alive.  Like the risen Christ, I, too, am raised to new life, filled with a joy and hope and a zeal to follow the blueprint to wholeness and holiness God has so graciously provided.

(c) 2015 Debra Cook