By Rev. Nancy Cushman
As I write this newsletter article, we are celebrating Easter. For our second year in a row, we celebrated this special day with the online worshipping community. I have to admit that I am looking forward to being in-person next year, but singing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” still brought a tear to my eye and a lift in my heart. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus today. God conquered sin and death. Nothing, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord! (Romans 8:38) Jesus’ resurrection so long ago leads the way to many other resurrections.
Jesus leads us to life after physical death, for sure. He also leads us to new life in the many losses that come with living and loving. Especially in this year, when we have all experienced multiple losses-loss of church as we’ve always known it, loss of time in-person with family and friends, loss of routines and normalcy, loss of health or loved ones-we need to hear the hope and promise of Easter. Whenever we face change, there is a mini-death of what was and a resurrection to what is coming. As I think about my coming retirement, I know that there will be losses as I leave behind a role in active ministry that I’ve had for almost 30 years. I also know that in leaving that old life behind, I will be able to embrace the new life that God will give me in this next season. It is a happy occasion that still brings with it the loss of letting go of some things to embrace the new life to come.
So many of our churches are in the space of moving from the tomb caused by COVID-19 to the womb of this new day, this new normal in the church that is being born. I invite you to be extra gracious with each other as we slowly move into this new reopening season in the life of our churches, our country, and our world. Be intentional about encouraging your pastor(s) and leadership as they do the difficult task of balancing the safety of everyone with our common desire to return to “normal.” And remember our Easter hope – God is able to bring new life even out of the worst. Just because it is hard for us to see now, it does not impede God from creating the new life to come.
Ruth Duck wrote in her book of liturgies called Flames of the Spirit,
“On this day and in days to come may we remember that there are times when God restates the joyful resurrection proclamation.
Abilities faded and forgotten are channeled toward new creativity—that’s
Friendships once killed by frosty misunderstanding bloom again in warm reconciliation—that’s resurrection.
Hopes glimmering and gone are rekindled by expressions of caring—that’s resurrection.
Faith, dulled by lack of exercise, dances again to God’s everyday rhythms— that’s resurrection.
We worship the God whose resurrecting power lives on as does the Christ we serve.”
May Jesus lead you to experience the hope and joy of resurrection in your life!
In Easter hope,