My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.
I write this passage from the Gospel of John–from the appointed reading for Sunday–as an attempt to send all of you a word of peace, belonging, ultimate security and love. This word is meant for you. It is directed to you, not from me, but from the Lord Christ to whom you belong. As news of violence and fear fill our minds, and threats swirl around us, unusually close, right in our neighborhoods, here is your native language, the promises of your baptism. When alarms and strident opinions fill our lives, and we are all on high alert, into anxious hearts the God of life speaks words of peace.
A congregation like ours has a role to play in times of fear and anxiety. The church we maintain and care for is a sanctuary where evil and death are conquered, not with opposing threats and violence but through faith, which is trust in the power of eternal creativity and in the ultimate authority of God’s love. We are not afraid. The spirit of the risen Christ calms us and directs us into ways of life that promote the public good, the care of our children, peace among peoples, peace in our hearts, and the dissolution of the walls that divide people from one another.
On Sunday we will begin in an unusual way, with a period of silence in the sanctuary of the word. In these moments of silence your individual thoughts and fears are honored. We sit together in support of o+ne another as we maintain a hopeful expectation of a word of life. The lessons, which include Psalm 23, are particularly appropriate as we witness horrific events.
The choir rehearses at 8:45 am.
At the end of our service on Sunday we will go outside for a blessing and dedication of the solar panels. After the coffee hour Ron Riggert will make a forum presentation on the installation of the panels. Please plan to stay for this and join in the discussion. Ron will offer the same presentation next Sunday, April 28, during the community open house from 11 am until 1 am.
Confirmation students are asked to meet with me briefly during the coffee hour and then attend the forum presentation on the solar panel installation.
Next Sunday we will celebrate the baptism of Jackson Pawluck, son of Sarah and Tim. We look forward to this rebirth in the spirit of God for Jackson.