God Bless you Pastor Rick Frederickson for your wonderful and inspiring Easter message! PTL!!! Happy Easter to you and your precious wife Sue and your congregation!
Rise up Easter People!
The path from home to church often takes me down Central Street in Springfield. So over the past few days I couldn’t help but notice the couple of dozen trees that have been cut down as the town prepares for summer street projects. So many trees . . . big, beautiful trees . . . so much loss. Bzzzzzzzzz – there goes another one.
Bzzzzzzzzz . . . the loss of cool shade on hot summer days; the loss of a home for the birds and squirrels that delight our eyes and ears; the loss of our neighborhood and community identity.
It’s easy to mourn and lament the loss of these stately, giant friends who’ve been our companions throughout the many years. It’s even easy to get angry or fall into depression over our loss. Those trees were planted for our benefit and pleasure, weren’t they? In a sense, yes. Someone planted them purposely.
But in our loss we forget that those trees are so much more. Like us, they were created for God’s purpose and pleasure. He knew them even before He created them. As a seed formed of another tree. As a seedling planted in the ground. He knew them as they began to grow tall. He knew them as they provided food and shelter for the birds and other creatures. He knew them as they matured into the stately companions we now mourn and lament in our loss.
God created the seed. He provided the sunshine and rain. God provided for this seed of new life..
It seems like there has been so much to mourn and lament over the past few years. Bzzzzzzzzz . . . the loss of many congregation’s members; the loss of the worship style we prefer; the loss of economic vitality in our rural areas.
And then, over the last month, Coronavirus. Bzzzzzzzzz . . . the loss of social spaces; the loss of school days; the loss of business, jobs and income; the loss of freedom; the loss of worshiping together in-person.
Where do we find peace and hope in such loss?
We find it in the seed of faith that God has planted in each one of us. We find it through faith in Jesus Christ, our savior and friend.
You see, there was a time long ago when Jesus lived as you and I. His seed was planted in the womb of Mary. As a child, Jesus the seedling was planted in the love of God, our Father. As Jesus grew and stretched he planted deep roots of knowledge and wisdom. Planted among us, Jesus matured into the God’s perfect son who provided the perfect nest for his disciples to find rest, comfort, spiritual nourishment, instruction, and challenge to fly.
And then? Jesus life was cut short in cruel murder. We may blame it on others. But it was for our sin that Jesus knew he had to die. It was our sins that cut his life short. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
That could have been the end. Over. Bzzzzzzzzz. A heap lying beside the road. Yes, we can lament and mourn. That is reserved for Good Friday. But the story doesn’t end there.
No, not with God. Not with Easter. Three days later God said enough to gloom and sadness, pain and fear, death.
Three days later, in the most incredible display of His majesty, power and love ever, God proclaimed, “I AM” once again as Jesus left the tomb.
“I AM God of Easter. I AM God of resurrection. I AM God of new life. I AM God who plants the seed, waters it, shines the sun on it and helps it grow. I AM God who created you and loves you with an everlasting love.”
Not with Jesus, who proclaims, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life! I AM the one who loves you so much that I was willing to live and die for you. I AM the one who burst forth from the grave and rose again for you. I AM with you always, to the end of the age. I live, so that you may live a resurrected new life – today and forever.”
Rise up Easter people! Jesus brings you the seed of hope and a new life. Live it!
Easter shouts and declares to you the true blessings Jesus has given you, especially in this time of Coronavirus. He brings you more time with him. He brings you more time with your families. He bring you new ways to share his love as you support one another. He brings you new ways to share together in worship and as community.
Live your new life as God’s resurrected children! Now! Have faith and hope in Jesus. Happy Easter! He lives! Rise up Easter people!
Rick Frederickson, Pastor