The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.
- the late Basil Hume, abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Ampleforth Abbey and Archbishop of Westminster.
We go through life pretty shaken up at times. We get shaken by personal struggles, national and international events, and even by the challenges churches across the country are facing to remain relevant in an evermore complicated world. But where our personal faith wavers, where corporations and governments shudder at the dismal prospects of continued growth and lasting peace, the church is different. The church endures.
Moving into April, we see all around us signs of renewal, with the grass beginning to green, trees budding, birds singing, and the sun soaring high in a blue sky. And with this comes the realization of God’s awesome power to bring new life. First Church is continuing along the pathway toward greater vitality and enhanced opportunities for both spiritual and numerical growth. In embarking on that journey, we have been given the Easter confidence that God is with us. We could never do it alone, but with God, our success is already assured.
We may not be able to envision all the possible ways that God would lead us to grow as a church, whether in your own individual spiritual journey, through new ministry opportunities laid on your heart, or in welcoming newcomers to come alongside us in worship and ministry. But if we remain open to the undeniable truth of God’s deepest desire for us as a church, we will be shown the way. And with that, God will give us the energy and inspiration to see it through, whatever it is that God points us to.
When God pointed Jesus toward the cross, one imagines that Jesus had no idea where that would take him along the way. But as hard as it was physically for Jesus to walk that walk, he never gave up spiritually. And neither should you, no matter what challenges you may be facing in your family, at your workplace or school, in the world, and especially in your faith life and your church. God is not giving up on you, so let us not give up on God.