Easter Blessings Dear People of Bethlehem,

This will now be our second COVID-19 Holy Week.  In many ways it feels very familiar, and in others it still feels incredibly foreign.  After a year spent in the midst of the pandemic and lockdown and quarantine, we each arrive at this Easter with very different lived experiences.  Some have been relatively spared, save for some inconvenience and restriction.  Some have suffered greatly, and are grieving tremendous losses.  Some have worked, and been stretched, beyond their limits and are weary to the very core of their beings.  And others are a complicated and confusing combination of these and more.  And while some are overjoyed and absolutely ready to raise shouts of “Christ is risen!” there are others who find themselves still beneath the cross of Jesus; not quite ready for the joy and exuberance of Easter morning.

The blessing, in all of this, is that we have a God who meets us where we are.  That’s the true power of the incarnation, the fact that God chose to enter into our world, our lives, into the human story to show us that we do not have a distant, hands-off God.  No, we have a God who is willing to come to us, to chase after us, to go through the muck and the mud with us, all so that we might know we are loved, and so that we might know we are never alone.  The moment of the cross assures us of that fact, while the joy of the empty tomb promises that something better awaits us.  Promises that God is already, and always, making all things new; transforming death into life.

But God is willing to move at our pace.  So, wherever you find yourselves along the road from cross to empty tomb, know that God will be right there by your side.  We have a God who walked the path from death to life, to not only accompany us, but to guide us, on our own journeys from darkness to light.

May the comfort and joy of Easter enliven and sustain you,
Pastor Sam