April 25, 2023

From the Rector…

Easter is a season of redemption, renewal, and resurrection. That season lasts fifty days and is known in the church as the Great Fifty Days of Easter. It will last from Easter Day to the Day of Pentecost and include Ascension Day. We will be reminded that God loves us and desires relationship with us no matter how we believe or behave. God has offered us the greatest gift we might receive through the unselfish love he has demonstrated on the cross. We spend the fifty days after that trying to figure out exactly what that cross and that love actually mean.  

For some of us, redemption, renewal, and resurrection are reminders that our sins do not define us. That we are given second chances all the time. That repenting and returning to the Lord are possible. We spend the time of Easter living into the belovedness of God in intentional ways. For others of us, Easter isn’t quite as transformative. We celebrate the day and forget about the season. We are great about going to church on Easter Sunday and then allow the distractions of our lives to interfere and draw us away from the life God envisions for us; much less the celebration and worship of God that we are afforded each week at church.

This past weekend, Stave and I got to be on the staff of Cursillo #227. Cursillo is a renewal movement—a three-day retreat in which the intentional love of God played out in community is offered to pilgrim and staff alike. Every time I get to be part of the staff of Cursillo, I am reminded of just how much God loves all of us and just how incredible the Christian community truly is. It is a powerful witness to me and renews me in faith and hope. I always come back physically exhausted and more spiritually alive than when I went and that was no less true this time.

Amy and Will McQueen and Brittney and Jenny Wade were pilgrims (participants) at Cursillo #227 along with me and Steve. It was a joy to get to experience Cursillo with them and see the love of Christ pouring over them through the stories told, gifts given, and Christian friendships that were inspired throughout the course of the weekend. As I watched them and the other pilgrims receive the Holy Spirit in so many different ways, I felt my own sense of peace and joy and love grow and strengthen me in heart, mind, body, and soul. It was more than a weekend of renewal—it was a reminder of the need to experience redemption and resurrection over and over again across the course of our lifetimes.

Easter is not one day. It is not even one season. It is a reminder of God’s invitation to us to draw closer to God throughout the course of our lives. The church has always declared every Sunday a “mini-Easter” but I wonder if everyday is not one as well. God is always giving us the gift of Christ’s resurrection in our lives. Our choice is whether we are filled with angst when we peer into the empty tombs of our own experiences or know that wonder and joy that Christ has risen.

Renewal is a part of the Christian journey—an important part. To recognize the need for renewal in one’s life of discipleship is to pay attention to the ebb and flow of our life in Christ. Christianity was not born, nor does it live, on a mountain top. It is messy and painful and a choice: a choice in how we live, how we relate to others, how we believe in God and, and what we believe about the world. We are not promised a happy life, but we are promised a hopeful one. My hope for you is that even in the messiness of life—amidst the distractions and darkness and disingenuousness—of the world, you might find redemption, resurrection, and renewal.

Light and Life,

Candice+

candice@coascension.org