April 27, 2014

Dear friends-

I’ve spent the past two days at the Annual Meeting of the Vermont Conference, United Church of Christ. We’re on the shore of Lake Morey, watching spring make its way into our landscape, and into our hearts. This gathering of faithful, wondrous people is always a restoring thing…

As was, in its own way, the puzzling, astonishing return of Jesus into the lives of the disciples who watched the horror and humiliation of his crucifixion. Just as they thought things could never be darker or more hopeless, here he came again, in a form that confounded everything they ever thought they knew about how the world of life and death worked. They huddled hidden in the days after the resurrection, never quite believing it.

We’ve probably all been there, at one time or in one way or another; the cruel winds of despair swirl around us, arriving, it seems, from nowhere, and convincing us with their evil moans that we will never come back to that place of hope we once occupied and to which we yearn deeply to return. We go to bed at night and the world feels as if it will be endlessly black…

But somehow, we wake up, and an unnamable grace has changed the weather of our lives. It’s spring again, or morning; or the stubbornly hidden sun has vanquished the gloomy sky… We can imagine, once again, having a holy purpose in our lives…

An Early Christian monk was once given the task of calculating the day on which Easter would happen for the next thousand years; his abbot must have been desperate to find something to keep his monks busy. It wasn’t an easy math problem: first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox; try that for the year 2525 without consulting Google…

It would have been great if someone had knocked on the door of that monk’s cell and advised him that Easter can happen anytime. Obviously, we think of Easter happening on a certain day. But Easter isn’t a day; it’s a way of seeing the world. And it changes everything… For the better…

Just ask Thomas, the disciple who had the courage to voice his doubts about whether Jesus had really returned. Tomas came to be known as the doubter, and the religious scolds have been wagging their finger at him ever since. But all he did was voice the doubt we all feel at one time or another.

We gather in worship, sometimes to celebrate new or eternal wonders and joys; and sometime we gather to wrestle with our doubts. Seems as if everyone in the sanctuary is named Thomas at one time or another. Join us; you’ll be in good company. And so will we… We worship at 10 AM.

Easter Sabbath blessings-
AFP

PS Stay with us for a time of refreshment and fellowship following worship. Amidst our conversation, we’ll be decorating t-shirts for a group that will gather on Saturday, May 3 to Green Up the roadsides in Craftsbury. Bring your own t-shirt, if you’d like to gather with this troupe…