Pastoral Letter – Spring 2023
Dear Friends in Christ:
Let us ask ourselves how many personal and societal problems could be solved by turning to God in faith and following Christ as a disciple? For many people, it is an untried proposition. We sense in today’s world, despite the material prosperity of our society, the frustration, anger, discouragement, and even despair, of so many people. We have abandoned so much traditional wisdom, and even common sense and reason. Many problems have solutions but we have become disconnected from the foundation and from the center of our lives. That foundation and that center is God, and particularly God revealed in the life, ministry, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Easter is time to regain our focus.
The message of Easter is that there is forgiveness, resurrection and life. Our lives are not meant to be dominated by discouragement, cynicism and even fear. Sin, in all its manifestations, such as lying, cheating, bullying, cruelty, violence and even murder, is not God’s plan for this world – it is the result of human weakness and choice. The problem is so deep within our fallen human nature that only God’s grace can cure it. That grace is revealed in the cross and resurrection of Jesus.
We need renewal in our churches, families, society and individual lives on this foundation. Each passing year, our society seems more confused about what is true and what is false. More and more, we are given over to fantasy: new age spirituality, occultism, conspiracy theories and even comic book like entertainment. We seem desperate to find spirituality. Each passing year, we seem more confused about right and wrong. Public figures and even media sources often seem willing to brazenly tell falsehoods. Too many people are willing to put appearance and superficiality over substance. People are willing to follow bad leaders and foolish, shortsighted, prejudicial policies. In religion and culture, we seem captured by novelty and fickle attention spans. We are bored or disinterested by what we have not taken the time to understand. It is time for greater seriousness on the part of many of us.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ, building on the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament, shows us the way to live, reveals the values of God’s Kingdom. It tells us of God’s love and desire for us. It speaks of the power of reconciliation and healing. It reveals the need for forgiveness and the abundance of God’s grace to forgive, and it promises us new life in this world, creative energy, and life in the world to come. The great enemies of humanity and creation: sin and death, are overcome by the power of Christ’s cross. Death is the great enemy that all who live face. Easter reveals God’s intention and plan for us, a new creation where death no longer has a place. Come out and celebrate the full and wonderful meaning of Jesus’ cross and resurrection. God loves you; share that love with others. Through grace and faith, be a conduit of life for this world.
Yours in the Crucified and Resurrected Lord Jesus,
The Rev’d Dr. Brian J. Spence – Rector