Reaching Out from
Grand Lake Community Chapel
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Greetings in Christ!
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it! Let us rejoice in the spring warmth that’s in the air, and let us be glad that the forecasters may be wrong about the possibility of snow on Easter weekend! Even though those of us who have been living “Up North” for more than a couple of years know full well that winter can hang on into May (or beyond, forbid the thought!), we long for sunshine and mild temperatures for Easter. Let us hope and pray that we will be so blessed when we gather to worship on Easter Sunday!!
According to the Gospel of John, today is the day when Judas Iscariot is identified as the one who will betray Jesus to the Pharisees. Today marks the beginning of the end of the passion of Christ; tomorrow is Maundy Thursday, when we will join in celebrating the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of the final Passover that Jesus would share with his disciples, and then the world will go dark for a time. Good Friday will find us at the foot of the cross, watching and waiting from noon until 3:00 for Jesus to breathe his last. Those three hours can be the most powerful three hours of the year, and perhaps the most powerful three hours of your life if you’ve never sat in silence before the cross. As you reflect on the events that led to this time, as you ponder what it all means, you can be transformed in ways that you never thought possible. You may be able to hear the still, small voice of God calling out to you; your thoughts may be molded by the presence of the Holy Spirit, and you may sense a new understanding of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf. Those three hours might leave you exhausted, they may leave you exhilarated, and they may leave you in tears; but make no mistake – those three hours will change you. If you’ll let them.
Christ is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!!
With our love in Christ,
Karen and Greg
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
Hello dear friends, this is TOBY the Church Dog,!
I hope your tails are wagging and your feet are prancing today! My tail is wagging too, but I have to admit to being a confused pup. I’ve been wrestling with the idea of what can be considered a loving act, and what cannot.
When I was a little shaver my mom took care of my brothers and sisters and me. I know this will shock you, but sometimes we did things she didn’t approve of and she would let us know it! Even back then I liked to explore; but if I wandered too far away, my mother would sigh and then walk over to me, pick me up by the scruff of my neck, and place me back in our bed. She never hurt me with her teeth, but I knew that she could. If my siblings or I got to roughhousing in a way Mom didn’t like, she would be begin by fixing us with “the look,” and if that didn’t work, progress through her series of enforcement tactics: drop her ears, lower her tail, raise her lip, lean forward, and finally, emit a sharp, growling sound that only a mother can achieve. We knew her growl was the last straw and we’d better shape up! I’m told we all had sharp little puppy teeth as young’uns, and I remember sometimes my mother’s foot would come up and push me away from her body right in the middle of my meal! I did not like that! But, as I consider my mom’s actions: growling, pushing, baring her teeth, etc.; I KNOW these things were rooted in love. They were acts of caring and nurture, even though they might sound cold and aggressive if one doesn’t know the full story.
I guess I’ve taken after my mom, because I realize I take actions similar to hers in my adult life. If the mail carrier touches our house or someone walks closer than I think is safe, I bark loudly letting them know that my family lives here and I will protect them. It is my goal to chase them away, not to harm them. If someone comes too close to one of you or my other loved ones and I feel concern about your safety, I will do all of those things my mother taught me in order to let them know that you are under my protection. I will fix them with a stare, change my posture, lower my ears and tail, show my teeth, and finally growl. I don’t want to harm them; just make them think twice about their actions, but I know I could and would do harm if one of you were threatened by danger. And so I ask myself, is this a loving act? Is it even proper action? I guess this depends on whether the one considering the question is the protected or the threatened.
And so I do what I always do when I’m confused about my questions; I turn to the Bible for wisdom. In the Old Testament I’m met with all kinds of accounts of God sending His people out to destroy that which was harmful and evil. In that same part of the Bible we receive the Ten Commandments, instructing us in how to live together lovingly as God’s children. In the New Testament we learn about God’s grace through Jesus Christ, hear about “turning the other cheek” when someone harms us, and are instructed to give and seek forgiveness when wrongs occur. We also hear there the account of Jesus’ anger at the misuse of God’s House as he makes a whip and chases the money changers out of the temple. And so, as I mentioned earlier, I’m a confused pup.
I love you, dear friends,
I so want to be a good Christian and choose actions that make God proud of me. I want to live out God’s love in all that I do. But, can God’s love look forceful sometimes? My mother was loving in the way she behaved. Am I loving when I take actions to defend my loved ones? Can my bark be loving? What about my bite? I’m guessing I will find part of the answer in examining my motivation; is my choice of action coming from a place of love, fear, or hate? I don’t yet have a clear answer to these questions; but I do know that it is good and right for me to keep praying, reading the Bible, and thinking about what God it telling me on the topic of being a loving part of his creation. It would be very wrong if I chose not to wrestle with this at all.
Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14
Wishing you joy and peace in your day! Remember, God’s got this.