NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR SUNDAY, EASTER 6, MAY 1, 2016

  This Sunday is the Sixth Week of Easter. I know that a lot us think of Easter as that one day several weeks ago, that’s has long ago come and gone. However, the 50 days between the Day of Resurrection and the Feast of Pentecost, is all considered Easter. During the first 40 days of that, Jesus is still in physical human form, still present and still speaking to the disciples. On the 40th day after the resurrection, Jesus ascends into heaven. We are reminded in the gospel reading this week from John 14, Jesus had told them, “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.” I don’t think this just applied to Easter morning after the crucifixion; I think it also applied after the ascension. For 10 days after His ascension, the Holy Spirit comes to lives IN the disciples as God, “A Love that is Still Present and Still Speaking.”
            It got me to thinking; maybe one of the reasons Easter lasts much longer than most of us think is because God wants us to realize that Good Friday is for but a brief moment; Easter is forever! Easter reminds us that God is not dead. God is still very much alive, present and speaking to us. In the gospel text assigned for this Sunday, Jesus tells the disciples that He’s leaving them but will not leave them as orphans; that in the Holy Spirit, He will come to them. That promise is for us disciples in 2016 just as it was for those disciples in the first century.
            I know that life is hard for some of us. We all have struggles. There have been enough deaths of loved ones, surgeries, hospitalizations, setbacks and disappointments in the lives of a congregation our size to last a lifetime; in just the last few months. In such times, it’s easy to think that God has forgotten us. However, as we approach the end of the Easter Season, let’s remember that Pentecost also reminds us that God in the Holy Spirit is “A Love That Is Still Present and Still Speaking” in our lives.
Perhaps you’ve seen the commercial on TV for adoption. A little girl speaks of the uncertainty of being an orphan in foster care. Then one day a couple adopted her. She ends the commercial by saying that “My adopted parents are not perfect; but they are perfect for me.”When we are faced with difficulties and challenges that stretch us to what seems to be our breaking point, it is easy to think perhaps we are now in God’s foster care and no longer His loving care. But remember, Paul tells us in Galatians 4 that we are not orphans; we’ve been adopted as God’s children. Our God is not just perfect for us, God is perfect period! Our God is “A Love That Is Still Present and Still Speaking” even in the difficult times of our lives.
            Make it your commitment to be in worship with us at Covenant this First Sunday in May. You have probably guessed by now that my sermon title this week is “A Love That Is Still Present and Still Speaking!” The scriptural texts for this week are “Acts 16:9-15” and“John 14: 15-18 & 25-29.”
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