Dear friends at St. Stephen’s UMC!

Recently I was listening to an interview with writer, spiritualist, and Franciscan priest Richard Rohr, in which he talked about our proclivity as human beings to gravitate towards that which is negative in our life, how we “will wrap around that experience immediately” and yet, as he goes on to explain, joy is much harder to wrap around.  We will run from joy…as Rohr states, “Resurrection is not our natural state.”  And I have thought about that a lot in this Lenten Season and even as we approach Easter how I, and many of us can quickly focus on what is negative in our lives and yet give very little attention to the joy we experience.  I laugh sometimes because it is so true that as clergy, we can receive 100 affirmations and yet we will focus on the one negative comment, and my suspicion is that we are all that way.  Negativity, anger, resentment dominate our thoughts as human beings and we give little heed to joy and hope. 

                Even after the Easter experience many of us no sooner will depart from Easter services before once again we feel ourselves falling prey to our old behaviors and attitudes.  And yet Easter is an experience of newness, rebirth, a crossover from death to life.  Jurgen Moltmann declares, “the cross is the end of the old world and the resurrection is the beginning of the new world” and I would have to agree that the resurrection for us is the beginning of hope in the world, the resurrection has the power to transform our lives from darkness to light, to raise as Moltmann says, “a new spirituality combined with a new vitality!”  As we approach this Easter Sunday, let us experience resurrection in a new way, let it not be just a fleeting moment in worship but let it raise us to a new level of consciousness, one that reveals to us a new hope and a new beginning.  Let us leave the despair of the past behind, whatever is aching in our heart and surrender the possibilities of hope that are birthed in resurrection.                      

Shalom, Patrick






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