Pastor's Newsletter - May 2014
From the Desk of Pastor Joyce
“When we were baptized in Christ Jesus, we were baptized into his death. We were buried therefore with him by Baptism into death so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
These are the words of comfort and hope that we hear at a funeral service. On Easter we heard these words of hope. They are real. In Jesus’ death our sins were washed away. In his death, Jesus defeated death. Death cannot win! That is certainly good news. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can live our lives in the hope and assurance of God’s eternal life and his presence with us in this world no matter what we are suffering, even when we are dying.
A few years after I graduated from seminary, my advisor, Walt Bouman, was given the diagnosis of cancer and the expectation that he would live only a few months longer. As we heard at his funeral, the hospital staff was amazed at the party atmosphere in his hospital room. There was real joy! One of the last things he said (paraphrased) was “I have trusted in Jesus all my life and I won’t stop now. I can hardly wait to see Jesus.” That was an expression of his undying and certain hope in Jesus. He planned his funeral service as a celebration and it was – three hours’ worth, including some of the most beautiful classical music that he loved so much. Walt was expressing his joyful anticipation of eternal life in Christ.
My Aunt Ruth expressed her confidence this way. She was about to undergo a serious and risky surgical procedure. There was a real danger that she would die on the table. Her reaction was this, “I know I will wake up whether here on in heaven and either place will be OK.” She survived that surgery, but after undergoing many more surgeries and knowing that there was little or no anticipation of recovery. She refused to go through any more surgeries and she died at peace, in the certain hope of eternal life.
No matter what you are experiencing – sickness, financial troubles, relationship troubles, or even good times – God loves you. And through Jesus’ death and resurrection we are given he hope and assurance that God is always with us and that one day we too will experience eternal life.
ALLELUIA! CHRIST IS RISEN!
CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!
God’s peace be with you,