No Judgments, Just Jesus

Easter Letter 2016

Dear Members and Friends of Immanuel UCC,

Here we are, almost midway through the Church Calendar. We began the church year with Advent and focused on four words from John’s prologue: life, light, glory, grace.

Since Christmas, we have been focusing on “The Questions of Jesus”. Out of the 307 different questions Jesus asks, he answers less than 10. Clearly, Jesus does not offer easy answers, but hard questions – questions intended to send us on a quest, to discover for ourselves something new and true about Jesus and our relationship to him and his Gospel.

The questions we’ve looked at so far have been:

  • “What are you looking for?” (John 1:38)
  • “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49)
  • “Do you see this woman?” (Luke 7:44)
  • “Who proved to be a neighbor?” (Luke 10:36)
  • “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
  • “Does this offend you?” (John 6:61)
  • “You do not want to go away also, do you?” (John 6:67)
  • “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath?” (Luke 6:9)
  • “Is not this the reason you are wrong?” (Mark 12:24)
  • “Could you not stay awake with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40)
  • “Do you betray me with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48)
  • “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 10:46)

With such an abundance of questions (and we’ve merely skimmed the surface), it is not surprising that the first words of the Risen Christ to an astonished Mary take the form of a question: “Why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” (John 20:15)

During the coming Holy Week, I invite you to journey with us to the cross and beyond as we reflect on the great sacrifice of love our Savior offers for the sake of the world.

And as you journey, I hope you will take some time and prayerfully reflect on the questions of Jesus listed above and how you personally might answer them. For our living Savior continues to ask his followers these questions and more. Why? For he is alive and he desires that we be alive in him.

That’s what we celebrate on Easter: “He is risen! He is risen indeed!” And as our living and loving Lord, Jesus wishes to prompt you through deep questions to greater experiences of God’s Spirit, peace, and love.

With that in mind, I’ll leave you with a question: “Will you join us as we journey to the cross and beyond?”

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Rich


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