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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  • November COVID Update

    If you are reading this before Sunday November 1st, I hope you take the time on Sunday morning to join us for communion in the parking lot at FPC.  It’s communion in the drive-through style, something the first Christians could never have envisioned.  It is nonetheless a faithful celebration of the meal that Jesus first initiated with his disciples.  Pastor Meg and I will be in the parking lot from 11 to 11:30 a.m. and we’ll have music to go along with the meal and hopefully lift your spirits. Stop by to hear the music, and for a blessing along with the communion meal.

    One of the most exciting things for me in recent weeks was our congregational meeting that we held via the online service Zoom.  It was so heart-warming to see that many of you in attendance.  Counting the couples on various screens, I think there were around 50 of you in attendance.  Thank you for your participation.

    At the meeting we elected new elders and deacons for the Class of 2023.  Please join me in expressing our thanks to elders Lovet Fokunang, Dee Logterman, Scott Hofmann, and Dawn Drost, and deacons Terry Brennand, Darcie Bessinger, and Marcia Baker.  We also elected Sheryl Bessinger to fill a partial term as an elder in the Class of 2021.  I’m thankful that they’ve accepted God’s call upon their lives to serve God by serving the people of our community.  May we lift them up in prayer (along with our other deacons & elders) as they help to care for and lead our congregation in challenging times.

    As you might imagine if you’re watching the news, Session unanimously voted to continue with YouTube worship for the month of November.  We continue to get around one hundred views each week, and I am very thankful for your participation in worship on YouTube.  It’s wonderful to have Pastor Meg back from maternity leave.  She is already busy planning Christian Education events and leading youth ministries.

    We will not host a church Thanksgiving dinner for obvious reasons, but we are spending this month getting ready for some exciting things in Advent.  We will have special music throughout our Advent worship services, there will be Advent activities for families, there is a special online bell choir concert in the works, and we’re hoping for an in-person outdoor Christmas Eve service.  Yes, it will be chilly, but we live in northern Utah and I know you people are hardy!  This service will be 30 minutes long, so you don’t get too cold.  We’ll have wonderful organ and bell music and Christmas hymns to sing, along with gospel readings of the birth of Jesus.  I think it’s going to be a wonderful way to celebrate the birth of the Christ-child.

    May the grace and peace of our Lord be with you all.

    —Pastor Derek

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