My Dear Friends in Christ,
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
Happy Eastertide to you all!
Well, I suppose that technically that’s a tad premature. We’re at the moment in the midst of Holy Week. Even so, as the bearers of Christ and as the embodiment of two thousand years’ worth of witness to the resurrection of Jesus, we know that the victory is already won! That it has been won for all time by the One who lived and died and rose again for us.
The past few days have offered us a welcome respite from what has been, thus far, a rather windy, chilly, rainy, and ~ just to make sure I don’t forget that it’s Wisconsin ~ snowy springtime. Bright sun, blue skies, temperate weather … even when the next snow hits, which it is sure to do at least once more before finally receding for spring & summer, I will remember feeling, in a day like this, the promise of new life to come.
And it will. It is absolutely inevitable. That fact is as true for the changing of the earthly seasons as it is for the eternal promise of God Almighty that, having died with Christ in our baptism, we are raised to new life with him in his resurrection.
This time last year, I was reflecting on where we were, as a parish, after “13 months of Coronatide.” Guess we need to update that to read “the first 13 months of Coronatide,” huh? I went on to write: “Indeed, in many ways, it still feels like Lent began in March of 2020 and still hasn’t quite ended. The pandemic is still with us, and it will take time, perhaps years, to recover fully. Even then, things will never be quite the same as they were before.”
Unfortunately, that observation continues to hit very close to home, even another year further along.
But so does the next thing I wrote last year:
“And yet …
“And yet there is light. There is hope.”
We’ve come a long way from our first Easter Sunday together, when I packed up my ancient MacBook Pro laptop (vintage 2013 technology!), drove over to the empty church building, set up my computer on a stack of prayer books on the altar, and livestreamed a service of Spiritual Communion in celebration of the holiest day in the Christian year … mainly because I couldn’t stand the thought of trying to livestream anything for Easter from my dining room table at home. It just didn’t feel right.
Truth be told, our celebrations this year may still not feel entirely right. Covid, after all, is still with us, requiring us to continue to modify our shared worship in order to mitigate as much risk as we can. But we are together, both online and in person. We are singing together again, as a congregation. And, as of Easter, I’m delighted to announce that we will once again have the option of sharing the common cup as part of our celebration of Holy Eucharist. Yes, the wine is coming back! Of course, it will be optional ~ no one who is uncomfortable with the small but not non-existent bit of extra risk will need to drink from the cup. Remember that for nearly two millennia, the Church has understood that the blood is inherent in the flesh, so that to receive only the bread in Communion is to receive Communion fully. But for those who wish to drink, the cup will be available, at last, this Easter.
And so life returns, in ways small and great. Life in Christ is renewed, rekindled, reborn, as Creation itself is made anew through the Mystery of the Cross, by the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What that means for All Saints Church, as indeed what it will mean for each one of us in our individual lives and spiritual journeys, will unfold before us over the coming weeks, months, and years. This time last year, it was difficult for me to imagine that we would be where we are now, this Easter. I don’t know what awaits us over the next horizon, but I feel renewed and re-energized … and I hope y’all are as eager as I am to see where our Risen Lord will lead us next!
Have a happy and most blessed Easter this year, y’all! God has blessed us richly, for the Lord is risen, indeed.
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Phone (920) 734-3656 or (920) 249-4147