It’s hard to believe that I am writing an article for the April newsletter. We are in the midst of Spring and of course, we all know what happens toward the middle of the month. Yes, it will be Easter. Oh, you thought I was going to mention something about April 15th. No, Easter is more important. Easter is the day we commemorate the amazing distance God went to assure us of His Grace and Love through the willingness of Jesus to give his life and return to demonstrate a life beyond what we can measure.

Now we are challenged to live into the level of Love and Grace by striving to be like Christ. What does that look like? It looks like the stories from the Gospels that you have heard before. There are the stories of Jesus talking to people that defied what was considered appropriate, such as speaking to women of dubious reputation or people considered as sellouts or morally corrupt. There are also the stories of Jesus granting forgiveness to people who many believed undeserving of forgiveness, such as adulterers and handicapped people who had presumably sinned at some time, or the stories of Jesus feeding the hungry, even if they could have fed themselves and the stories of Jesus praising the least important people in society, people like widows and children.

In our world today, these ideas may defy modern measures of how we should live. Instead of sitting in judgement of others, we are called to love. Instead of amassing a wealth of things, amass a wealth of giving away to those most in need. We are encouraged to convert our tools of destruction into tools that provide food for the hungry.

I realize that we live in a world where this sounds like a pipe dream, yet nowhere in the teachings of Jesus does he say we are only expected to behave this way when everything is perfect. HE dared us to live this way in the real world. We are to love all of our neighbors, not just the ones who are like us. We are dared to forgive as God has forgiven us, because God forgave us when we hadn’t asked for it.

Let us live Christ-like in joyful response to the wonder of Easter morning. It is the only way to honor the one whose name we claim.

Shalom, Darrell