Faith United Methodist Church
Sleepy Eye, MN
Gerhardt Miller, Pastor March 24, 2022
Dear Members and Friends of Faith United Methodist Church:
Easter Day is coming. This year—2022—Easter Day is April 17th. A few more weeks of Lent ahead of us, and then we will arrive at Easter. And the last week before Easter is, of course, Holy Week. That is a week of observing a painful period in the story of Jesus: the final entry into Jerusalem, the last supper, the betrayal, the arrest, the interrogation and beating, the death sentence, and the crucifixion, of Jesus.
Concerning Christian traditions of this period called Lent, I tend to think of tough times. What words do you associate with this season? Soreness and sorrow. Darkness and doubt. Hunger and harassment. Tasks and tiredness. Contrition and confession. I do not think of celebration with any of those preceding words. Lent just is not the time to celebrate according to our Christian calendar. These weeks before Easter are meant to be earnest preparation for celebration. This preparation is of the soul, and that can seem like a burden most would like to avoid. Bearing this burden of the spirit can seem like a dark struggle.
For most of us connected to this Minnesota congregation, our struggles are not the worst of this troubled world. We know that there is indescribable pain in this world, and we know that we experience only some of it. While we can pray and work for those whose hardship is far more than our own, let us persevere with FAITH through our own dark places and hard times. For me—even as blessed as I am—the challenges of life can seem relentless. Have you ever felt as though your weeks are just a relentless slog through a somber journey?
Scripture assures us that as tough as our days and nights might seem, God is with us. God was with Jesus in those moments and circumstances that were not at all pleasant, and God is with us. Sure, there are moments when the darkness seems so strong, but we persevere knowing that we are not alone. God is with us, and knowing that helps us through the hard work of discipleship.
Believe that Easter is coming!