The Reverend Doctor Nathan Corl Minnich, STS
Ordained Lutheran Pastor of the North American Lutheran Church
By the time you are reading this I’ll be on my way home from Jerusalem! Thank you for all the wonderful well-wishes and prayers! I look forward to sharing with all of you when I return. This experience is certainly one that has made a significant impact on my spiritual life, and I am grateful for the opportunity to return leading groups of ordained clergy to experience the Holy Lands for the first time.
This time of year, is certainly exciting. The winter is quickly ending, and our Lenten journey begins, leading us to the celebration of the great feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord. Easter is the primary celebration of Christ Jesus, for without his having been raised from the dead, our faith is in vain (as St. Paul notes in his writing). Jesus Christ, the first-born of the dead, promises to those who believe the same resurrection. St. Paul also wrote: for if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be untied with Him in a resurrection like His. The resurrection of Jesus is the resurrection for which we can hope, a bodily resurrection, proving to all creation that no grave can hold these mortal remains, no earth can consume them beyond recognition! Like the dry bones of the valley of old, so too will our bones rattle together and be wrapped in a glorified flesh. Once we came from dust, one day we will return to that earth, and on the last day…be called to rise from that dust again in glory!
Easter brings joy, there is no doubt, to the faithful who long for the day when the completeness of the kingdom of God will dawn upon creation. But for those of us who have walked through the valley of the shadow of death, the dawn of resurrection has a particular joy unlike anything this world can give. Through shadow, through temptation, through sorrow, and through grief, this hope shines like the Savior, the brightest and most magnificent light of a new day!
Walk with your sisters and brothers through these sorrowful valleys this Lent. Contemplate the meaning behind the FORTY DAYS as seen throughout Holy Scripture. Our community Lenten theme and the overarching theme of this season will call us to think about the implications of patience and waiting (even if your forty days turns into 40 years)! Each Wednesday service which is listed here in the newsletter with dates, topics, and place, will point us to a span of 40 days. You don’t want to miss this worship opportunity with your friends and neighbors. As always our Lenten soup/sandwich meals will precede the community service.
To close this season we will gather as usual for the great Triduum. From the stripping of the altar following our Maundy Thursday service to the great celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord, April 21st at 6:30 AM Sunrise service, we can move closer to our Lord through faith and rise to greet him now, throughout our Lenten/Easter journey, and when he comes again in Glory and in Power.