"Christ is risen. That's enough!"

posted Apr 8, 2020, 10:07 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Grace and peace be with you during this most Holy of weeks.

Well, beloved ones, this is a first for me . . . writing my Easter letter to you amidst a pandemic; writing a letter of encouragement when we are unable to gather as a church family in our beautiful sanctuary; writing a letter celebrating joy and new life when the news cycle around us often robs us of hope and reminds us of death.

And still . . .

There is encouragement; there is joy; there is new life; and there is hope, because that’s the promise of the resurrection.

Amidst the coronavirus, it may seem like we are living in an ongoing twenty-first century Holy Saturday moment. Certainly, the Apostles must have felt confusion, despair, and absolute fear after Jesus’ death. Their teacher, the person they witnessed do miracles and heal the sick was suddenly gone. Their hope for the soon coming reign of God must have been badly shaken, or perhaps even given up on. Their friend, a man of compassion and absolute radical love was lying dead in a tomb like a common criminal. All of these thoughts and more must have been on their minds as they sequestered themselves in their houses, afraid to come out and risk their own death or the death of their friends.

And then . . .

Something wonderful happens, something that defies all acts of the imagination of what should have been. For you see, even though Jesus died, life couldn’t be kept from blooming. God’s plan of showing us how to love and giving us a new covenant written on our hearts wasn’t thwarted by a crucifixion. God so loved the world — God so loves this world — that God wasn’t then and isn’t now going to let death crush grace, for nothing can stop God’s plan of love for all people. Resurrection. This is the hope of new life. This is why we are Easter people — even in and through a pandemic.

And so . . .

Knowing death can’t stop the soon-coming resurrection, we will gather online as people of God’s love this Thursday and Friday before the joyful day of new life on Sunday. I invite you to our Maundy Thursday worship tomorrow at 7 PM where we will remember the Last Supper of Jesus and the Lord’s commandment — I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. (John 13.34). On Good Friday at 7 PM we will have a service called Last Words: A Good Friday Service, journeying through the last hours of Jesus where lay people will share their reflections on his last statements. And then there is Sunday — resurrection rejoicing, oh-God-do-we-need-new-life-and-hope-right-now Sunday! All of our worship services have special music with featured soloists/musicians Nancy Coffin, Judith Daugherty, Juliet Gallagher, and Sarah Gordon.

As a colleague of mine said, “Christ is risen. That’s enough!”

In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish

We know that not only is this an emotionally and physically stressful moment for us all, but it is also one where some of us will experience financial hardship. That said, we are thankful for those who have sent in their tithes and offerings, and would be grateful for your continued giving — as you are able — in these difficult times. Please send your offering to 121 Kings Highway, Middletown, NJ 07748 or you may drop off your offering in the white mailbox on the front door of the Education Building. And if you were given offering envelopes at the beginning of the year, you have an Easter envelope in which you may send a special Easter offering to support the ministries of the church. Thank you!