Message from the Pastor

Rev. Sundar SamuelS

Dear Members and Friends,

We have all experienced second chances. A bride and groom stand in front of the church and pledge their vows to one another. Each promises to be a loving and faithful spouse in joy and in sorrow, in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health throughout all their days. Making such promises always brings with it a risk, but one made even clearer when the bride and groom are not exchanging vows for the first time, when they have made these promises before. There is something to be said for second chances. The bride and groom know that there is a possibility that this marriage too might fail, although that is certainly not their plan, but there is not always enough to sustain a marriage through all the foreseen and mostly unforeseen stresses that lie ahead. Sometimes a “marriage dies at the heart.” Then there are literal deaths, when husband or wife must take on the unwelcome moniker of “widowed,” left to deal alone with the length of days and years that stretch into the future. Knowing all this, it is especially wonderful when the bride and groom are willing to take the risk once more to love and trust and give themselves-body, mind, and spirit-to another human being.

This is what the prophet in the Book of Jeremiah, chapter 31: 1-6 promises to the people of Israel, as they mourn in lonely exile in Babylon, an exile Jeremiah tried to warn the people to avoid at all costs. Jeremiah speaks of the chance for the people to renew their vows with God. The people have broken the covenant God made with them many generations before. Not only have the people ignored Jeremiah’s warnings to get their faith back in line; they have engaged in idolatry, the worship of false gods. God has been betrayed by those in whom God has placed unwavering trust. God offers the chance to wipe the slate clean, to start over, and to have a fresh, new start. God does not abandon them forever. Instead God carves out a new covenant with the same people. God loves them! God will not give up. For God, it’s not a matter of sucking it up and pretending that nothing wrong has happened. God is not sweeping all the sins of the people under some celestial rug, but shaking that rug out in the fresh, open air, and laying it down smooth and clean.

God’s promise to renew the covenant is made through prophet Jeremiah and the other prophets. The promise comes to full realization in Jesus Christ. At the end of time, when Christ returns in glory, eternity with God is sealed. God is the faithful one. God is the one taking all the risks. God does not quit us, although we may deserve it. God welcomes us into the fold even when we have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). God does not do so grudgingly or with hesitation, but God is eager, indeed, God is yearning for a renewed relationship with God’s people (Jeremiah 33:8, 10, 11).

To be loved with such an awesome love is truly beyond our understanding and imagination. We can be grateful to God for God’s unconditional love and grace that such a love does not rest on our understanding or good works. It totally rests on the saving grace we receive through our Savior Jesus Christ. This is the simple message of Easter. May this truth set us free and may we run towards God expressing our joy by shouting with all our hearts and voices “Hallelujah!” Christ is raised, yes he is raised indeed!

May you and yours begin to plan to come with your entire family on Easter morning to join the rest of your church family to greet the Raised Christ! Happy Easter-Christ is risen!

Shalom,

Pastor Sundar