Shepherd of the Sierra Newsletter
Is Easter Over?
“He is not here.” These words turned the world upside down and changed the course of history. Having gone to the tomb to embalm a dead body, the women were astounded to find the stone rolled away.
And they were flabbergasted to meet an angel inside the tomb—an angel who greeted them with the astonishing word that Jesus had risen from the dead. This is where Easter begins, with the great proclamation that Jesus Christ has burst the bonds of death and emerged victorious over the grave: “He is not here!”
This is the solid foundation on which our faith is built. But if that were all there was to Easter, we needn’t bother singing alleluias on this or any other day. If all we had of Easter were an empty tomb and an angel, that would be unusual and amazing, but it would mean nothing for our life and for our salvation. An empty tomb without Jesus does us no good. He’s the One we need – the living Lord Himself. The real issue for you and me is the same as it was for the women who went to the tomb that first Easter morning: we need to find Jesus!
To continue this thought, listen to what Dr. Dale Meyer, the President of Concordia Seminary said in his Meyer Minute: “It was the end of the day. Two people were walking to the parking garage when a stranger asked where they were going. “To the northern suburbs,” they said. “Could I hitch a ride?” Well, you’d be wary if that happened to you but the man was nicely dressed, bit of a beard, not pushy, but polite. “Yeah, we can take you, but only as far as we’re going.” So they all got in and began the commute. The stranger sat in the back seat, quiet but listening. He had gotten into the middle of an ongoing conversation and could tell that the two friends were quite bothered. Finally, he leaned forward and said, “Excuse me, but may I ask what you’re talking about?” “We’re talking about relevance, man. We’re Christians who actually go to church. Sunday was Easter. We got a lot of talk about Jesus being raised from the dead but we’re not sure what to make of it. Same work today. Same commute. Now that Easter is over, same old same old.”
The stranger really leaned forward; he could, because he hadn’t put on his seat belt. “Listen. The distance from your heads to your hearts is about 18 inches. Those 18 inches can be the longest distance in the world, especially for you church people. You get religious factoids in your heads but don’t get it together down in your heart.” And then he gave them a run-through of Old Testament passages that talked about Jesus dying and rising. They must have thought, “This guy seems to know what he’s talking about.”
The commute was near its end; the driver got off the interstate. The stranger said, “You can pull into that gas station over there and let me out.” But the two said, “Why don’t you come home with us and have a bite? Then we’ll take you wherever it is you’re going. You’ve got our interest.” The stranger agreed. They got home, put a quick meal on the kitchen table, and they sat down. The stranger asked, “Could I say grace?” “OK,” said the two, who honestly didn’t always pray before meals. So he prayed and for a fleeting moment they saw that the stranger is Jesus. He vanishes. They didn’t see Him again for all we know. Didn’t need to. His words had made Easter relevant. They still do!”
Amid the emptiness and confusion of our world and in the very face of our sin and death comes this glorious Easter Gospel: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was crucified for our offenses and raised again for our justification! The risen Lord Jesus comes to us even today, hidden in the water of Baptism, the bread and wine of His Holy Supper, and in the Word proclaimed in His holy name. Where is Jesus? He’s right here among us! And His gifts remain forever sure: we are the communion of saints, we receive the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.
Is Easter over? No! Jesus is still here guiding and leading you each day! Have Him live in your heart each day to come!
Pastor Norm Milz
God’s given us an incredible ministry to our community, its families, and its children. Let’s keep the mission of the congregation moving forward in 2013 to proclaim Jesus Christ and further His Kingdom!
“God is Good All the Time, and All the Time, God is Good!!!”
Birthdays in April:
Dimitry Ediss – April 5
Mike Jones – April 6
Clint Neudauer – April 6
Debbie Hochsprung – April 7
Michael Irvin – April 10
Tom Jameson – April 10
Janet Gordon – April 15
Jim Hineman – April 15
Rikki Markwardt – April 15
Ann Dallas – April 18
Arlene Collier – April 24
Nate Schober – April 24
Sharon Kientz – April 26
Mark Costa – April 27
Maisie Elliot – April 27
Jim Markwardt – April 28
Dave Laursen – April 29
Zach Unger – April 30
Anniversaries in April:
Ed & Sandy Irvin – April 15 (24 years)
Don & Mary Ann Muenchausen – April 20 (50 yrs)
Mike & Gina Jones – April 22 (34 years)
Matt & Cathie Collier – April 23 (25 years)
Matt & Miranda Schober – April 28 (8 years)