CLC'S MAY 2018 MESSAGE FROM THE PASTOR. . .

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

 

Jesus said to Martha, following the death of her brother Lazarus, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26)

 

It has been a long snow season. Our Vermont landscape is just now s-l-o-w-l-y beginning to come back from the dead. Hints of life are creeping back into the grass and annual beds. The buds in the tress are beginning to swell. Spring will arrive—really it will. Year after year the seasons give us a visual of the cycle of life. There are a couple of ways to contemplate this lesson that annually unfolds before us—1) birth, life, and death, or 2) death, resurrection, and new life. Baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Christian is encouraged to view life according to the second option (Romans 6:1–11).

 

Either way, death is the part that is most likely to make us uncomfortable. It isn’t fashionable in our day to discuss death. Apart from God, one struggles to find a place, meaning, or purpose for suffering, failure, defeat, and their ultimate end, death. As a result, death is often glossed over or denied. It’s a topic we often put off until it literally enters the room. Then it’s often recast as something natural and good; a cause for great celebration. In fact, death is not natural, or good. It entered the world through sin (Romans 5:12). The devil is one who works to destroy the life that God gives (John 10:10). Christ is the One who came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

 

Christ’s death on the cross destroyed death. His resurrection from the dead and His Word of life gives the hope of life eternal to all who believe in Him. Though we must suffer death, on account of sin, in Christ, we are delivered from death to life everlasting. By faith, we are given great hope that our Lord will remain with us from death to life everlasting with Him.

 

Still many questions remain. What is the purpose of a funeral? Is it okay to be cremated? Once I’m dead why does my body matter at all? What happens when I die? I could go on and on. Thankfully, there are many resources within our church body that address these questions and many more. Face to face teaching and interaction is even better when grappling with these difficult issues. I’m pleased to offer just such an opportunity where I can also share some great resources with you.

 

Saturday, June 9h, from 9:00am to 2:00pm, I look forward to leading a congregational retreat on Death, Dying, and the Resurrection. We’ll discuss the questions listed above, we’ll walk through the funeral planning process, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions that might be on your heart or mind. I pray that you’ll consider attending to see what Scripture has to say regarding death and to see how the practices of the church reflect the Scriptural teachings. This will also prepare you for our Voter’s Meeting on Sunday, June 10th, where we will discuss the Memorial Garden here at CLC.

 

May the Lord of Life, Who is risen from the dead, give you peace and hope, even in the face of death.

 

Pastor Matt

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