From the Pastor
Open Up Your Eyes to the Easter Surprise
(Mark 16:6-7; Ephesians 2:4-5)
It is Holy Week as I put the finishing touches on this newsletter article for April. It is not yet Easter… but considering the month ahead it is hard NOT to think about that season of the church year just around the corner. Every time I read the Easter accounts in the Gospels it strikes me how surprised everybody was by an event that they should have seen coming. After all, Jesus predicted He would rise from the dead not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES! It’s no wonder the angel at the tomb says, “[Jesus] is risen. He is not here. … But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” It puts me in mind of an animated children’s video produced by Lutheran Television back in the early 70s called “Easter Is.” I saw it as a kid and ran across it (where else?) on YouTube not long ago. It’s a dated, low tech production, to be sure, but it begins with a song called “Easter gift” that points to God’s call for each of us during this season of the year: “Easter gift, give yourself a lift, open up your eyes to the Easter surprise.” We haven’t lived through the trauma of Jesus’ crucifixion the way His first disciples did. Yet even we need to be reminded of a message that takes us by surprise every time we reflect on it and take it to heart. Death has been swallowed up in victory! We have been reconciled to God and to one another through the death and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ! Or as St. Paul puts it, “God, being rich in mercy, even when we were dead in our trespasses... made us alive in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
There are several special events underway at RLC in April during this season of new beginnings. On April 15, RLC member and financial planner Bob Williams will begin a 9-part Financial Peace University class on Thurs. evenings via Zoom. If you or someone you know is in need of new hope in developing skills in life management and financial peace, please sign up by contacting the church office ( ).
What can Easter reconciliation to God and one another look like in situations where ethnic divisions have often caused strife and pain? Our Sunday morning Adult Christian Education class is entitled “Race and the Gospel” and will address that question. It begins April 18th at 9:30 AM. Check church announcements for more information.
Finally, our preparation for an Associate Pastor has entered its final stage. April 28th is Call Day at Concordia Seminary— the day that assignments of all fourth-year candidates for pastoral calls will be formally announced in a worship service at the seminary that will be streamed online! I invite everyone to watch the Call Day service “Assignment of Calls” at 8 PM Eastern time (7 PM Central). You can find out more about Call Day by clicking here.
The daily grinds and battlefields of life can dash our hopes and challenge us from ever daring to think that God’s beginnings will, in the end, trump the endings we know only too well. Let’s encourage one another this Eastertide. Let’s all, together, open up our eyes to the Easter surprise!