The Hard Work of Change
April 14, 2023
in Pastor's Weekly Message
Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!
This isn’t just a mantra we share on Easter Sunday, but it’s the reality that we live each day. Christians believe that Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried, but even more than that, we believe that he was raised to new life again. Like the disciples, we may have our doubts some days and we may want proof and question what it means. Yet at the core of who we are, we are blessed even when we didn’t see the actual proof.
Have you thought about the things the disciples lived through after the resurrection? Somehow they moved from scared disciples huddled in a room to evangelists who changed the world for Christ. This Easter Sunday had changed everything, and their lives showed that change. The story of the early church that we read in Acts tells us that they faced hard times as they preached the gospel. Persecution, arrest, loss of friends and family … this was hard work yet they did it, through the grace of God.
Friends, we are facing hard work too. The sad news is, the work of the church in the world has most often been hard work. We do the work of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in a world that has no need of God and a Savior who died on a cross. We do the work of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in cultures and times that think the “old, old story” is just that—old and irrelevant.
But we know better. We know the peace that Jesus promised and delivered to the disciples. We know the power of prayer and the power of being together as a church who prays. We know the life that can come from being in a community that forms around the love of our God in Jesus Christ. We know that the world can be changed through this love, through the outpouring of God’s love through our hands to the world around us. We know the old, old story is a story that never changes, even while our methods change.
We are in the midst of hard work right now. Discussions with Sanctuary UMC about a potential merger. The Renovation Team is tackling some weak spots in our structure that need strengthened. New ministry teams are forming to welcome new visitors, to care for congregation members, to track attendance. Staffing changes (do we ever NOT have new staff?!?). Denominational angst. It can feel overwhelming.
I want to offer a word of encouragement. Yes, we are facing changes in our world and in our church. But the underlying truth has never changed and will never change. We worship a God who offers us new life through the Risen Christ. We worship a God who offers us peace through the work of the Spirit. We worship a God of love. This foundation that we stand upon will never be shaken. All the rest is stuff that we will work out as we live into a post-pandemic, post-Christian world.
Please plan to join in the congregational vote at 11:30 a.m. April 30 by Zoom or in person. Look for an email next week that will give details about this conversation and vote.
Then, plan to attend a Congregational Meeting with Ministry Architects, our consulting group that is leading our work around our strategic direction. They will be on campus for an all-church meeting at 6:30 p.m. May 10. Mark your calendar and plan to attend. We will get an overview of what has been accomplished and hear plans for what’s next. We will have a chance to listen and to ask questions.
Change is hard, and we are living in a hard time. But I pray that we receive the peace and grace that Jesus brings, trusting in God’s good gifts. This Easter season, may we watch for the risen Christ among us, and believe that he brings good news to us and to the world. May we keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.
See you soon.
- 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
- 10 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
- 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care (except fifth Sundays)
- 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website
To access our livestream service:
- From the main menu on our website click “Worship.” -OR-
- Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.