Paul’s Message: The Season of Resurrection

Dear Friends,

We are entering the season of resurrection!

The journey of Lent has its challenges. Focusing on our brokenness and our need for God, it can be a little long, and a little dark.

But I would maintain that the season of Easter and resurrection is ever more challenging.

That’s because Lent focuses on where we are and where we have been, but Easter focuses on where God wants to take us.

When Mary Magdalene finally let the gardener go at the empty tomb (the gardener turned out to be the risen Jesus!) she had no idea where life would take her when she started proclaiming “I have seen the Lord!”

The disciples had no idea where God would lead them; they couldn’t imagine what God would accomplish through them (the beginning of the Church with a capital “C”!) after the risen Lord appeared to them behind their fears and locked doors on Easter night.

Given that he had persecuted so many and so passionately the followers of Jesus, the Apostle Paul had no idea of the miles that he would travel around the Roman empire for Jesus the Christ after the living Jesus knocked him off his horse on the road to Damascus.

If Lent is tough because it highlights our limits and failures, Easter can be tougher because it calls us to follow Jesus to vistas unknown.

Where will the risen Jesus lead you?

No matter who you are, no matter how old or young you might be, no matter where you find yourself at this moment, the promise of Easter is that there is more to discover. Even death, proclaims the Gospel, is not an ending. It is a new beginning. Try that on for size.

This month we are invited to step out of our tombs and into the light of day. After our eyes get used to the light, we are invited to recall the rebel Jesus who dared to challenge the powers that be. We are invited to follow him – to embrace like he did, to share like he did, and to risk like he did. Things might look one way (Good Friday despair), but God says go that way (resurrection action).

This Easter gospel is tough. WE might feel the urge to walk back into our tombs (after all, it is the darkness we know…). But Jesus invites us to not only discover but pursue the future unknown. It is challenging, but it is also blessed because it rests in the hands of a living Savior.
Where will the risen Jesus lead you?

Happy Easter everyone. May the season of resurrection lead you to new life.

Peace, Paul.

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  • Back to School, Not Back to Church…

    …at least not all the way. Some ministries of the church are in action, others are not.

    Ministry is Continuing!

    To date we have shared around $7,000 with our local community to help relieve those affected by coronavirus, and we have another $2,000 we will be distributing now. This has gone toward food, diapers for families in need, rent & mortgage relief, and other purposes.

    Thank you for continuing to worship with us—our YouTube videos get around a hundred views each week, and in some cases, there are multiple people watching one screen. Thank you for listening. And thank you for your continued financial support.

    We are going to be doing some new things in the interest of our own spiritual health, fellowship, and the ministry of the church. The first is drive-through communion (or drive-thru, as it is frequently written).

    Drive-Through Communion — Sept 6th, 9:15-9:45am

    If you wish, you’re invited to drive through our parking lot on Sunday, September 6th from 9:15-9:45am and I will serve communion to you. You are just as welcome to partake of communion from home, as we’ve done the last few months.

    Fellowship Bike Ride — Sept 13th, beginning at 1pm

    On Sunday, September 13th we will have an FPC Bike Ride. We will meet at FPC and go on a 10-mile bike ride led by John and Jean Stewart. Maps of the route will be provided, and a shorter route will be available if needed. Some of the route will be on streets and some on dedicated bike paths. Meet us in the parking lot at 1pm, and we will depart by 1:15.

    Zoom Bible Study — every Tuesday morning from 8-9am

    If you’d like to join us for Bible Study we will begin on Tuesday, Sept 8th, from 8-9am. We will meet via Zoom so you can enjoy breakfast and coffee from home. The zoom link will be available on our First Pres Logan Facebook page each Tuesday morning.

    My role as pastor is to be a spiritual guide, someone who helps each of you on your faith journey (and as you might imagine, you help me just as much). I confess to you that feeling like we are connected and in touch these months has been a struggle. Continuing to not meet in person remains one of the more challenging decisions of my career in ministry. I want to see all of you each week. Worshiping at home via YouTube is certainly just as pleasing to God as when we gather and sing, but it doesn’t feel the same to me, and I’m sure it doesn’t feel the same to you. Hopefully, some of the above activities will help us with that.

    In the Presbyterian system the pastor does not make decisions about all of the activities and happenings around a church. The pastor leads worship, teaches through Bible Study and similar endeavors, provides pastoral care, and participates in many other diverse activities around the church and community. We have Elders and Deacons who take on other responsibilities, including making decisions about church activities (reserved for Elders, who serve on Session). Who does what around a church (and how we do it) is outlined in the Book of Order, which covers all kinds of things. But as you can imagine, there isn’t a chapter titled What To Do in Case of Worldwide Pandemic.

    The Elders that we elect as a congregation (you elect them, Pastor Meg and I do not vote) make many important decisions for each congregation, although pastors frequently share their thoughts and offer guidance for any vote that is taken. The Session of FPC Logan met on Wednesday, August 19 and voted unanimously to continue with online worship for at least the next month (until the next Session meeting, on September 16th).  At that meeting we will reassess the situation and take another vote for the coming month (or months). Session made this decision because we don’t feel it is safe for us to be in the same room for an hour together. Some people may be willing to take the risk. I am not, and neither are your FPC Elders. Of particular interest is the effect that the return to school will have on coronavirus numbers. Public schools and the Utah State University are back in class now, with both online and in-person classes. Also, of great interest is progress in vaccine trials. We are praying that one (or several) of these vaccine trials provides good news in the next few months.

    May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you all,

    Derek

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