Spring: A Time of New Beginnings

Pastor’s Monthly Newsletter Article for May, 2014

It is a time of new beginnings for the Risendal family: we are moving again. This move is a short one – about four blocks south from our current home. It seems like a lot of work for such a small distance, but it is a smaller place (with a smaller mortgage!), and we’ve already had the chance to view a couple of gorgeous sunsets from the back porch. The official move day is Saturday, May 2nd, and we’d like to invite you to help us move some of our stuff (9:00 a.m.), join us for a barbecue picnic (2:00 p.m.), and participate in a house blessing (3:00 p.m.). R.S.V.P. with me (a.s.a.p.) so we know how many lunches to prepare.

Spring is a time of new beginnings. On the farms that surrounded my hometown, Spring was a time for sowing crops. Riding bikes on the county roads, we could smell the rich, tilled earth. I’ve long been impressed with the way those Minnesota farmers poured their hearts into making ready for the new growing season. From the Fall tilling through the Winter planning and culminating with the Spring planting, hours and hours are invested in maintaining equipment, preparing soil, purchasing supplies and planting seed. It is an extraordinarily risky business: bad weather, broken equipment or family illness could lead to a diminished harvest and financial disaster. But the farmers I knew began this cycle every Spring because of their confidence that God was calling them to this vocation, and promising to work through them to feed the world.

Easter is also is a time of new beginnings. It is the celebration that our God is one who is known for making all things new. On that first Easter morning, when Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome make their way to the tomb (Mark 16), they are stunned to discover it empty. They leave, overwhelmed. St. Mark tells us that they are consumed by terror, amazement and fear, yet soon that will change. Jesus’ appearances to them, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the call to be God’s people will abate their terror, and allow their amazement to overcome their fear. The presence of the resurrected Christ in their lives and in their community will empower them to risk their lives in order to share the good news of Christ with the world. It is a new beginning for these three women; a gift from God that will forever change their lives.

I am grateful for a God who makes all things new. It allows us to walk into uncertainty of the future with confidence and hope. There are times when fear will be present: sometimes the unknown is the most frightening reality we face. But the presence and power of God in our lives allows our fear to be overcome by our amazement at what God is able to do.

I hope your Easter faith tells you the same. Our God, who has the power to overcome death, will overcome whatever we face in this world, and give us the chance for a new beginning. May Easter faith fill your hearts this season. And may you know the blessing of God’s presence in your lives.

God’s peace to you, Pastor Dave