Dear Fellow Children of God,
Last Monday I took four middle school Confirmation students ice fishing. It was one of those Chamber of Commerce days. The sun was bright. The snow was new. The temperatures were cold enough to be invigorating, but it was warm enough that we didn’t need our gloves to bait the hooks. It was hard not to feel refreshed after a day outdoors in the beauty of late winter.
The time of late February and early March is one of my favorite times of the year in Alaska. The daylight hours have grown so that the darkness of winter begins to fade, giving way to longer hours of sunlight. Yet, winter is not yet over. A whole season of snow has dropped so the extra sunshine reflects off the white snow of a full winter, giving even more light. The crisp winter temperatures combined with the long hours of light provide an opportunity for really appreciating the outdoors and God’s gift of winter. These are some of the best days to walk, or ice-fish, or ski, or snow shoe, or snow machine. The days of darkness when we feel like hibernating have given way to a sense of being awake and being alive.
I am convinced God uses many different voices to speak to us. God’s clearest message of love comes in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. Today, we hear God’s plan for us in Jesus most clearly and faithfully in the Scriptures. God also speaks to us through acts of faith and love in His children. God’s powerful acts in history also speak. For example, Scripture tell us that the Old Testament events of the Flood and the Exodus communicate to us God’s ultimate plan to save us.
The awakening from winter which happens this time of year is one way God speaks to my heart of the new life He gives us in Jesus. We awaken from the darkness of sin and death and live in what God has won for us in the forgiving death of Jesus, and his victorious resurrection. Yes, this new life is totally fulfilled in heaven, but we get to live in the beginning reality of new life in Jesus today.
That is what God tells us through Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:15-17. Jesus’ saving life and death and resurrection give us new life. We begin to live in that new life now. “15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
This time of year awakens my heart and speaks to me of new life. That new life comes from Jesus. May the growing light of late February and early March be a blessing to you, and speak to your heart of the new life God gives us in Jesus.
A Child of God, Enjoying the longer daylight hours, rejoicing in Jesus, the Light of the World,
P.S. Here are some pictures from the fishing trip. https://plus.google.com/photos/114993745799525883148/albums?banner=pwa&gpsrc=pwrd1#photos/114993745799525883148/albums/5847903403474505313
P.P.S. This weekend Jamie, our Director of Christian Education, myself, and some other adults will take between 15 and 20 middle school children to Victory Bible Camp for a retreat. This is another opportunity to enjoy God’s blessings this time of year, and grow in faith and love.
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am always adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you don’t want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message. . . Or, if you know someone who would like to receive one of these e-mails, please send me their e-mail address.