Pastor’s Message | April 2019

During the weeks of Lent I have been using for my devotional prayer a book about suffering by author and poet Joyce Rupp (Your Sorrow is My Sorrow). In this book Rupp traces different dimensions of suffering and loss by reflecting on what certain life experiences may have been like for Mary, the mother of Jesus. From the prophecy of Simeon and Anna at the Temple on the occasion of Jesus’ circumcision as an infant, and the flight into Egypt to escape Herod’s murderous search for him, we see a parent who must wrap her head around the fact that the Son of God is destined for suffering and death.

Sometimes we forget that Jesus had a family. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) means that Jesus is one of us, and God chose this path so that He might conquer the source of all of our sorrows from the inside. In order to embrace the brokenness of our world, and our helplessness in the face of death and our bondage to sin, Jesus must become the very embodiment of our deepest pain and our need for God’s redeeming mercy. Mary bears witness to the anguished depth of human suffering at the foot of the cross, where it is certain and appropriate that she wail over the horror that Jesus has come into this world to address. Your sorrow is my sorrow.

As we listen once again to this sacred story unfold over these holy weeks, I hope you feel many things deeply. It is appropriate to feel some of the weight of the world, and to wail before it all. And just as palpably as you feel the weight of Jesus laid in the tomb and the entrance sealed, may you also feel the magnitude of Life Restored and radiating from this very point of hopelessness. May you burst with joy just as surely as the sealed tomb burst open before the Resurrected Christ. May you be healed from the inside out because of what Jesus has done, and may your sorrow be no more.

God’s Peace to you.

Pastor Leslie M. Richard