This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it! Let us rejoice in a glorious late spring day, replete with sunshine and moderate temperatures, and let us be glad that this is only the beginning!! While we don’t want to be overly excited about the arrival of summer-like weather, we think it’s probably safe to move the snow shovel to the back of the garage (finally)!!
This time of year is magical in Northeast Michigan, as flowers come into full bloom, lawn furniture replaces snow piles, and free-flowing water replaces ice floes on lakes large and small. This season of renewal and growth can be magical in our faith journeys, as well; as we are able to be out-and-about in the beauty of God’s Creation, without heavy coats and mittens, we can smell the fragrances of flowers, watch the activities of birds and bees as they go about building their nests and pollinating flowers. We can touch the blades of grass and the unfurling leaves as we venture forth, and we can connect more intimately with the presence of the Triune God as spring eases into summer. With the observance of Trinity Sunday and the celebration of Holy Communion on June 4th, we will enter into a quieter time on the church calendar, even as life in general enters into a (possibly) louder and more active time. We look forward to sharing worship with each of you during the lazy, hazy days of summer that are now upon us. We pray that this season brings you ever closer to the Almighty, always remembering that God is good, all the time; and all the time, God is good!
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it! Let us rejoice in clear skies (even if it is a bit chilly), and the ongoing greening of the Earth as spring continues to change the landscape around us. It’s remarkable to see how quickly things change this time of year; every day another flower opens to the sun, more trees display their leaves, and the woodland creatures delight us with their antics. Spring is a truly wonderful time of the year!
As is the Season of Easter, which is nearing its end. Tomorrow is the Day of Ascension, when our Lord was taken up to Heaven outside of Bethany; while this event marks the unofficial end of the Season of Easter, there is still one more Sunday on which we will shout “He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!!” But we earnestly hope that just because the calendar tells us that the season has come to an end, we don’t end our celebration of what Easter has done for us; that would be a tragedy, because Easter changed everything for the better. We should never lose sight of that irrefutable truth, even as we celebrate Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the crowds in Jerusalem and filled the believers with its holy presence. Easter is the defining event in Christianity, and we should strive to honor it all year ’round.
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it! Let us rejoice in a spectacularly beautiful spring day, and let us be glad that there are more days like this to come! Maybe, hopefully, possibly we’ve finally turned the corner to springtime in Presque Isle County, and we can be about the business of getting our gardens and yards in shape for warm weather and time in the great outdoors – without the need for overcoats and boots…
Glorious days like today fill us with hope for tomorrow and joy for today; days like this makes us feel better about life, even if we’re going through a bumpy patch. At the same time, some of us might feel like we don’t deserve to feel good on a marvelous day, that somehow we haven’t earned the privilege of contentment (let alone happiness). Let us be perfectly clear; you deserve beautiful, sun-filled days! You deserve joy, happiness, and feelings of contentment because you are God’s beloved child! Your worthiness for good feelings is not determined by how much money you have, how many achievements are on your resume, how many accolades have come your way throughout your lifetime. You are worthy of all good things because you breathe. No matter how thorny the path, God wants only good things for you, and you are absolutely worthy of all the good God wishes for you!
We can’t let this week go by without making note of Mother’s Day this coming Sunday. Established in 1914 in the United States by President Woodrow Wilson as a national observance of the critical role played in our lives by mothers, our understanding of the day has expanded to include all women who play a role in nurturing us through our lives. Please join us in honoring mothers (and those who fill that role), both those living and those who have entered the Church Triumphant, with a phone call, card, or prayer.
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it! Let us rejoice in our ongoing celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, and let us be glad that we are blessed with three more weeks to contemplate and embrace what that life-altering event means to each one of us! Certainly, it means that our sins have been washed away and that we have received eternal life in Paradise with our Lord, but is there more?
Of course there is! There’s hope, joy, and confidence; there’s freedom from worry and fear, and there’s the assurance that we’re never alone. Jesus walks with us every day, even if we don’t always acknowledge his presence. Beyond all these things, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, and therefore equipped to be kind, compassionate, forgiving, and loving; we are different people because Christ is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!
As we write this message, the skies are overcast and the air is cool. But our hearts are full of joy and love, because eight years ago today we led worship with you for the first time as candidates; and then, on our drive back Downstate our cell phones rang and we were told that the congregations of both churches had voted to call us to become a part of your faith communities! Our lives changed for the better on that grand day, and they continue to get better every day that we share with you in this beautiful and inspiring corner of God’s good Creation. We will be forever thankful and grateful for your invitation to us. And we are reminded that God is good, all the time; and all the time, God is good!
He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!! On this day that the Lord has given us to enjoy, let us rejoice and be glad for a bit of a respite from the rainy/snowy weather of the past few days. And let us rejoice and be glad that we’re moving ever-closer to warmer days. We see folks out working in their yards, riding bicycles, and beginning to get summer toys in shape for the season to come, so there is hope all around us! Indeed, let us rejoice and be glad!!
You know, hope is in seemingly short supply these days, with news of war in far-flung places, a faltering economy here at home, and relentless stories of unrest in cities around the country; the drumbeat of negativity is almost unbearable, but there’s no reason for despair, because He is Risen! That incredible good news should wipe away all our fears, and fill us with boundless hope for the day and for all the days to follow. We know, it’s hard to not let the bad news grind us down, but think about it for a minute; what do you gain by worry and fear? As Jesus says in Matthew 6:27 “And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?” The broader context of this passage is that as God cares for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, he will care for you as well. And if that’s not enough good news to fill you with hope, you can always consider what we sometimes tell our daughter when she’s hit a bumpy spot in the road of life – at least they’re not going to eat you…. Always remember that God is good, all the time; and all the time, God is good.
He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!! We certainly hope you all enjoyed our very brief summer last week, and that you’ve been able to find your winter coats, boots, hats, and mittens as it appears that we’re going to be experiencing a stretch of cooler weather (complete with snow flurries!!) for a little while longer. Rest assured that spring and summer will eventually arrive; let us hope we don’t have to wait until 2024….
We don’t have to wait a second to celebrate the wonders of today, because Christ is Risen!! Ten days after Easter Sunday, he’s still risen; and we should still be joyful and confident that no matter what difficulties we’re facing, we’ll get through them. Now, let’s be frank; the road ahead might be bumpy, and we may have to make a few adjustments to the path we have in mind in order to get around the obstacles in our way, but we can trust that we’re going to come out at the other end of the road. As long as we make the course corrections given to us by our loving God and are willing to let our Risen Lord and Savior rest his hands on ours when we turn the steering wheel of life, we’ll arrive safely at our next destination. The trick is to let go and let God be God, and to let Jesus be Jesus, and to have absolute trust in the Divine presence that indwells each of us. Hard to do, we know, but absolutely essential. Maybe it will be easier if we can all remember that God is good, all the time; and all the time, God is good.
He is Risen, Indeed! Warm and sunny greetings on this first Wednesday in the Season of Easter! We are so blessed to be enjoying a glorious spring day; it’s hard not to be joyful on a day like this, when the air is filled with the sweet aromas of the season, and flowers are poking their heads up from their winter’s naps and trees are beginning to sport buds. And the mounds of snow in the parking lots are melting away! Now, let’s be realistic; it’s too early to put away all the snow-fighting gear, because it’s Northern Michigan and the odds are that we’ll get at least one more snow event before we can declare victory over winter-like weather. But it’s getting close!!
We delighted in magnificent worship services on Easter Sunday, starting with the Sonrise Service at the Range Light Park in Presque Isle, followed by worship at the Chapel and at Westminster that was filled with wonderful music, enhanced by beautiful flowers, and most importantly celebrated by joy-filled worshippers celebrating the Day of Days! Now, it’s up to us to keep the joy and praise going, because Easter Sunday is only the beginning! Through the rest of April and until the end of May, our focus should be on walking with the Risen Christ and strengthening our relationship with him; while we should always be intentional about spending time with Jesus, the Season of Easter gifts us with 50 days without any distractions to celebrate. So, let us join together in joyful celebration, because Christ is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!! And because of that irrefutable fact, we are freed from the burden of sin and blessed with eternal life. What an amazing thing to contemplate, and to rejoice in.
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Let us rejoice that we are advancing ever-closer to the great Day of Days, and let us be glad that we still have a few more days (four, to be exact) to make ourselves truly ready for the Day of Resurrection! On this kinda’ gloomy Wednesday morning, with gray skies and a bit of drizzle following a night of thunderstorms, let us also rejoice in roofs over our heads and let us be glad that what’s falling from the skies doesn’t need to be shoveled!
In a way, it’s fitting that the day before Maundy Thursday is a bit on the overcast side, as we know what the next 24 hours holds; betrayal, arrest, and harsh questioning at the hands of the temple leaders. At the same time, we know that all the horrible things that are going to happen over the course of the next two days are absolutely essential in order for God’s perfect plan to come to fulfillment. And so we must be strong in our faith, and steadfast in our trust, that the end result of tomorrow and Good Friday will be the limitless glories of Easter. So let us not succumb to despair; instead let us keep our focus on what is to come on Easter and beyond, trusting that God’s ways are not our ways. God’s way is perfect, whether we like all the details or not, because God is good all the time. And all the time, God is good.
We look forward to sharing Maundy Thursday worship with you, and also to sitting in vigil with you on Good Friday. Then comes Easter Sunday, when we will raise our voices together in saying “Christ is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!!”
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it! Let us rejoice in the melting away of most of the snow from last Saturday’s storm, and let us be glad for today’s sunshine! This time of the year in Northern Michigan always presents us with a wide range of weather, sometimes all in the same day; and since there’s nothing we can do about it, we might as well delight in the surprises! We cannot ignore the tragedy that took place in Nashville, TN, on Monday, at the Covenant School (affiliated with the Covenant Presbyterian Church); the death of three students and three staff members, in addition to the shooter, should cause each of us to stop to reflect on the state of our nation. We will leave it to the “chattering class” to speculate and pontificate about this event; our concern as people of faith should be about the soul of the nation. To that end, we invite you to join with us in prayerful discernment about what has changed in our country in recent years, because something clearly has. Maybe, just maybe, if the faith community puts its collective focus on the problem, a solution will become evident; we know, with absolute certainty, that God is present in the face of this tragedy. And we also know, with equal certainty, that God will show us the solution; it is up to us to decide whether or not we’re going to listen to what he tells us. This coming Sunday, we will celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week. We all know what will follow; the tragedy and triumph of Christ’s Passion. In the death and resurrection of Jesus, may we find hope for the future of our nation.
so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,Philippians 2:15
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it! Let us rejoice in spring having arrived this week, and let us be glad for the promise of what is to come over the course of the next several weeks! While the weather pattern hasn’t completely switched over to the new season, there are signs of change making themselves evident as the piles of snow gradually melt away. We know better than to think that we’re done with snow and cold temperatures just yet, but we also know that soon enough the trees will be in bud and our attention will be focused on gardens and lawns!
We also know that soon enough, we will join together in shouts of “Hosanna, He is Risen!” as we celebrate Easter Day along with Christians everywhere around the world. In just over two weeks, the great day will dawn, and all things will be made new. Are we going to be ready? We’ve been working our way through the Season of Lent for some 25 days now (remembering that Sundays “in” Lent don’t count as days “of” Lent), being intentional about nurturing our relationship with the Divine, and hopefully growing closer to God. We hope that these days, and those yet to come, have given you the time and space to set aside worldly cares and to focus on spiritual matters. If you’ve found this harder to do than you might like, please don’t fret; there’s still time in Lent, and beyond, to commit some time each and every day to conversing with the Triune God. Trust us, you’ll find it to be time well-spent, transformative, and enriching! Always remember that God is good, all the time; and all the time, God is good!