If this newsletter makes it to you anytime soon, thank a sled dog. I knew better than to imagine that the snow was done for the year, but part of me hoped it might be. Of course, that’s not what “hope” really means. Hope isn’t just about plucky optimism that imagines maybe things won’t be as bad as we know they will be. Hope is about looking at life the way it is and finding the nerve to imagine that maybe life can become more than that. So I can say I’m hoping for spring in the way that I’m hoping for the Easter story. I know things aren’t going to get better right away, but I know just as well that good news is on the way in its own time.

The last days of Lent lead us through a jarring series of stories and spiritual experiences. Our contemplative, reflective posture turns into the joyful “Hosanna!” of Palm Sunday. Just as suddenly, those shouts meet a solemn call to follow Jesus in a life of service that leads through death. The anguish of Good Friday stays with us even into the first recognitions that Easter Sunday is upon us and Christ is risen again! These contrasts prolong the Lenten journey until we wish we could just burst into the new springtime of God’s life. Hope in this time is not to imagine that we can avoid the darkness of Holy Week, but to see that God is and will be faithful, even in the darkness.

Christ’s resurrection becomes a reality among God’s church when we carry on the life God intends for us even as the world progresses through seasons of darkness and death. We live our hope by celebrating the mysterious places the resurrection appears in the people and communities around us. We see churches in Fargo-Moorhead open their doors to house the volunteers who show up to fill sandbags. We see older steelworkers take a voluntary layoff so their colleagues with less seniority can stay on the job and keep their health insurance. We see this marvelous congregation seeking new ways to follow Christ even as our demographics and our place in the community change. God lives among us in these acts of faithfulness and commitment.

We will tell the story of Christ’s faithfulness when we seek a new “contemporary” way to worship at 8:00 on Easter morning. We lived out our faith when the Deacons hosted a tea for residents at Washington Manor last month, and we’ll do so again when our members help present the Iron Range Earth Fest this month. We continue to respond to our call by sharing with those in need through the Ghana bandage project, the Deacons emergency fund, the food shelf drive, and One Great Hour of Sharing. Add to this the countless ways our members care for one another and quietly share their resources with the community around us, and it’s hard to miss the good news of the resurrection that lives in our congregation.

This is the season of Easter: it’s still cold, it’s still snowy, and life is still changing around us, but the God who has come this far with us is alive and creating a new future. In this season, it is still time for us to imagine new ways to serve our neighbors and share new life with them. How will you live out the resurrection this Easter?

In Christ’s peace,