Pastor Paul’s Easter Message

A New Kind of Christianity

We are having an interesting time in Sunday school. We are studying Brian McLaren’s book A New Kind of Christianity. With a wide variety of perspectives around the table, I’ve enjoyed the give and take.

One of the first things that we had to wrestle with (and it lurks behind the whole discussion) is the title. It begs the question, do we need a new kind of Christianity? Isn’t God the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow? Isn’t the Bible I pick up today the same Bible my parents (and theirs) picked up?

Well, yes … and no, says McLaren. He and many others are surveying the landscape of church and world and noticing that many are in need of good news. There are many who are not receiving that good news through traditional expressions of the gospel and church (and, indeed, many who struggle with and have been wounded/excluded by them). Is there a new way of expressing/living our faith that speaks to our world and our context today? Are there new ways of doing/being church?

I think these are healthy (if tough) questions. From the Apostle Paul, to Martin Luther, to Martin Luther King, Jr, faithful Christians have always asked “what does the good news of Jesus Christ mean for us, and how does it address our needs and circumstances today?” Jesus said ” … every student well-trained in God’s kingdom is like the owner of a general store who can put his hands on anything you need, old or new, exactly when you need it.”

Jesus loves us so much he wants us to discover a faith that renews our life, that speaks to our issues, and that reaches our generation. Many in our day may be in need of a new kind of Christianity, but we are all looking for the same living Jesus.

That’s the neat thing about our faith. It reaches us where we are with what we need. That’s good news. Jesus doesn’t wait for us to come to him, he comes looking for us.

It’s almost Easter. With the cross and empty tomb, God offers us a fresh start with new and bright hope for both today and tomorrow. May this Easter be just that for you.

Peace, Paul

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  • Lent in the Midst of COVID

    We’re in the church season of Lent, a time of journeying with Jesus as he makes his way to Jerusalem and to the cross.  In addition to Sunday worship services on YouTube we will be adding short mid-week Lenten devotions from Pastor Meg and myself (also available on YouTube).

     Last month Mary-Ann Muffoletto sent me a picture. She took a ‘screen shot’ of our most recent Zoom congregational meeting, and I’m thankful she thought to do this. This is the moment when we ordained and installed new elders and deacons to our church. This is usually a sacred moment of our worship together on Sunday mornings, a special time for those new deacons and elders and also for the congregation as these individuals step into leadership positions for us. We’re usually doing a “laying on of hands” at this moment, as we offer a prayer for these new officers. This last year Presbyterian churches around the country have doing this via Zoom, and here we are, lifting up our hands as a blessing for these church officers, as we lift them up to God in their new roles.

    The big thing on our mind in the church office and with Session is when will we be back in worship together? I don’t have an answer for you at the moment, but as more people receive vaccines and transmission rates continue to decrease in Utah and around the country, we get closer to that time. Two Session members have volunteered to work with Pastor Meg and myself on plans for when we get back into the building. Outdoor worship services in a park is also a possibility before we return to our church building. When we are back in the sanctuary and Bruner Hall together our plan is to record the service and make it available on YouTube for those who choose to continue worshiping from home.

    I want to close by sharing a few things with you about our building during this last year. You might think the building has been empty and unused, but I assure you this is not the case. While most of our activities have been put on hold, several things have been occurring in our building. Session approved Loaves & Fishes to serve take-away meals and that has been ongoing through much of the year. Additionally, numerous recovery programs (similar to AA) have been meeting throughout the year (for some people, being able to attend a sobriety meeting is a life and death matter). And finally, the Red Cross has been holding blood drives every month or so. Craig Mortensen passed along to me that Red Cross blood drives at FPC collected 490 units of blood in the last year. Most of these units even came from willing donors… (just kidding!). All of these activities have required people to wear masks and socially distance to prevent spread of COVID.

    It brings me great joy to think of how many people Loaves & Fishes has helped, how many people have continued their journeys of sobriety, and how many people were helped through blood donations in the last year. Each of these activities come with some risk of COVID transmission, but Session approved them because they are essential for certain members of our community. All of these happenings are possible because of the use of our church building. I thank all of you for your ongoing support of FPC Logan. I know we aren’t worshiping there, and many of us are anxious to be back in the sanctuary (I am too). Thank you for bearing with us and our cautious approach. Good things are indeed happening through use of our building and because of our collective journeys with Jesus Christ.

    Grace and peace be with you on your Lenten journey.

    Pastor Derek

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