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April 13, 2020

Dear friends,

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! We are in week 5 of social distancing, and time is not flying by, but our hope remains grounded in the love and grace of God in Jesus Christ. Many of you saw the social media message during Lent: "This is the Lent-iest Lent I've ever experienced!" I don't yet know how I would categorize Lent 2020. And whatever it was, it does not really feel like it is finished.

Yet, we have hope!

The church staff woke to a wonderful video surprise on Easter morning on the church's Facebook community page. Seeing your faces and hearing your voices made us love and miss you all the more! We all feel deeply the privilege of serving God alongside you in our community. We are thankful for your support and trust in us to continue to lead in this weird time, and we are thankful for the ways you are leading and teaching us!

The sun came up today after some terrible storms last night. There was so much damage and some lives lost across our state and in other places, and yet the earth continues the healing process of light and warmth. There are those among us who are sick, in pain and facing loss of many kinds. With so much heaviness to hold in our prayers right now, I remember with gratitude the words of Paul in Romans 8:26: "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words."

My prayers for you this week include the following: the in-breaking of joy and light in dark and troubling circumstances the assurance of God's love for you in the midst of uncertain times the comfort offered in the sheer beauty of the earth around us when the sun is shining the knowledge that your church community loves you and is praying for you, even when we can't be together. Will you join me in hope? Will you pray alongside me and the Holy Spirit, even if what you have to offer are sighs too deep for words? This year's celebration of resurrection is not like that to which we are accustomed. This year we may need to look a little harder for signs of life and hope. So, I encourage you in that work. I invite you to start looking for places where God is at work in the world. Make note of it; write it down; call someone and share it!

Years ago, I heard a mentor of mine say the following in his homily for an Easter sunrise service: "God was hard at work last night while you and I were asleep." God never stops working, never stops creating, never stops saving us. I believe that with all of my being. God never stops.

Keep praying. Keep checking on each other. Keep getting outside when the weather permits. Keep the faith. And know that I keep you in my prayers daily.

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!



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