Sitting in Saturday

We have just finished our journey through Lent, and celebrated Easter. Is that it, then, until we do the same next year? Or is it true that “every morning is Easter morning” — if we look to the truth and meaning behind the Scriptures and then apply that foundation of our faith to our lives, each and every day, throughout the year? Pastor Paula offers this reflection:

Sitting in Saturday

Good Friday was a day of darkness and death and hopelessness. We have “Good Friday” kinds of experiences in our life. We have times that feel dark and desperate. Life throws us an unexpected medical diagnosis that thrusts us into a season of appointments, procedures, and unknowns. We make the difficult decision to end our marriage, beginning the journey of unwrapping the years together and the guilt of not being able to make it work out. Your son, struggling with addiction, gets picked up and sits in the jail cell, awaiting the news of his charges. The house you carefully designed and built for your family is lying in ashes, along with the memories and the treasured items that carry those memories. The pink slip is fresh in your hands and the weight of paying the mortgage is just beginning to be felt. We have “Good Friday” kinds of experiences in life.

Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday had to have been a difficult day. Sitting in the reality of the death of Good Friday, without a sense yet of the hope of Easter, was a challenging place for the followers of Jesus. They were lost. They were grieving. They may have felt separated from community.

Sometimes we sit in Saturday. The loss of Good Friday has been experienced. The bottom has fallen out from beneath our feet. We don’t know which way is up. We are lost and grieving and in despair. We feel separated from community. We are stuck in a place of not knowing which way is going to lead to hope and promise. It’s a difficult place to sit, made even more difficult when the community around you is well on to the hope and promise of Easter.

The church has a prescribed Sunday for Easter. This year it’s April 1st. we move through Lent and 40 days after Ash Wednesday, Easter happens like clockwork. Easter doesn’t work like clockwork in our lives. Though Easter does come, will come, it doesn’t come on a schedule that always makes sense to us. And it rarely comes after only a short time of sitting in Saturday. Sometimes we sit in Saturday a long time. But Easter will be born in our lives. Easter does come, will come. New life will be born in us. A new way of being will happen in our lives. We believe this to be true because we are Easter people. We know that God is already at work in our Good Friday experiences even while we sit in the despair and grieving of Saturday.

Who around you sits in Saturday? Who do you know that sits in despair and grief, not ready for Easter Sunday? Whom do you know that sits in Saturday without the hope that Easter is coming? Whom do you know that is sitting in Saturday feeling separated from community? What they need most from you are two things: sit with them in Saturday and hold the hope of Easter for them. People who are sitting in Saturday cannot will themselves out of it. They need people who will sit around them and be with them in the midst of the Saturday experience. Sit with them and be community for them in their Saturday. And while you sit with them, you hold hope for them. You know the promise of Easter. You know the hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. You have lived through Good Friday and sat in Saturday, only to discover the new life of Easter. You can hold this hope for them, even when they cannot. Both the sitting with them in Saturday and the holding hope for them is a gift beyond measure. It is the power and the hope of the resurrection coming through you!

Pastor Paula

Mission Talk

 

We had a very informative mission team meeting Monday night with 11 people from United in attendance. Dorothy Nicholas and her Husband Ron were here from Glendale UMC in Savage MN. Dorothy has a wealth of experience in mission trips both serving on them and planning them. She was able to describe the planning process, what to expect and also answer many of our questions.   There was a lot of energy in the discussion and the next steps for the group involve each member doing a search for possible trips with focus on when, where and approximate costs. We will then meet to discuss the options. One Possible option is to do a mission week somewhere in the USA, perhaps in the fall of this year and start planning an international trip for winter of 2019-20. On May 16th at 2pm we have a Missionary from Costa Rica here to talk at Untied so stay tuned for more information!     –  Mike Gaboury

Every Step of the Way…….

Dear Friends in Christ…

For centuries the Twenty-third Psalm has been one of the most treasured passages in all of Holy Scripture. It is among the most familiar, so much so that even people who are not religious or very knowledgeable about Scripture recognize these words. Psalm 23 is comforting, it is often quoted in times of trouble or distress, and especially when there has been a death.  Many images in this psalm have deep meaning. One image that comes from the verse, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

It would be so wonderful if God would simply promise us that we would never go through difficult times. But we do go through difficulties all of the time,  Some difficulties are terrible and some are just plain irritating, But God constantly warns us of these dangers and complications in the scriptures.

St. Peter wrote in his first letter “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” The Bible constantly tells us that there will be difficult times in life, and Psalm 23 gives such a warning. It does not say, “God will keep you from danger, “ but rather it describes that there will come times, and they come for all of us, when we feel like we are walking through a dark, dangerous valley — a “valley of the shadow of death.“

But what the Word of God does make very clear is that as we move through such times, God is with us. God is there to comfort us and support us. “As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for YOUR rod and YOUR staff comfort me.

God is frequently described in the Bible as being like a shepherd who cares for and tends a flock of sheep. The rod is used by a shepherd to ward off evil and to direct the sheep as they walk. The staff with its large crook at the end serves to support the sheep’s body when it crosses a dangerous ravine.

The Lord protects, guides, and supports us. God does not send us through the dark valley with a cheery promise to meet us again on the other side. God goes with us every step of the way.

Pastor Paula