Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher.) John 20:16

 In just a few weeks we’ll hear Mary crying at the tomb of Jesus, telling the angels she doesn’t know where his body has been taken. Her grief was intense. Then Jesus appears and asks her who she’s looking for. Mary doesn’t answer the question directly; instead she attempts to deal with the grief by saying something along the lines of, “I’ll take care of it—it’s no problem” thinking Jesus is the local landscaper. But Jesus calls her by name and all her earthly priorities are undone. She has found the living Lord! He is not dead, but risen and full of hope and love.

Have you found the living Lord? I know that doesn’t sound like a Lutheran question—we don’t claim to find Jesus—he finds us. What I mean by “have you found Jesus?” is, have you let him draw you closer so far this Lent? Maybe even since Advent and Christmas since that wasn’t too long ago? That is always my prayer for you because when you think about it, what’s the alternative? That you draw further from Jesus and eventually fall away from his Church? That’s happened here you know and it’s a tragedy. It was a tragedy when our Lord was separated from God the Father when he died on the cross. But that lasted only three days. After his resurrection Jesus made it possible for all people to be in an eternal relationship with God. So the tragedy of the cross is actually a wondrous, miraculous, and glorious gift because it saves you and me and gives abundant life. May this tragedy-turned-joy undo the tragedies in our lives, and like Mary, may our earthly priorities come secondary to God’s—drawing nearer to Him and to others he has gathered into his house.

As I leave you with that thought, I’d like to mention we’ll welcome back our friend Yoel Ben David from Jews for Jesus on Sunday, March 13th. Yoel will again give us his perspective on Jesus the Messiah, and the importance of proclaiming the Gospel to Jews and Gentiles alike in today’s hard-hearted world. He will speak for a few minutes during both services, and also in the church basement during Bible study time. Yoel’s time away from his family in Israel and costs for visiting us is compensated by Jews for Jesus; however this vital ministry cannot continue without the prayers and giving from congregations like ours. Prayerfully consider a donation to Jews for Jesus when Yoel visits on the 13th.

Worship-wise, almost this whole month of March will consist of our continuing journey to the cross and the empty tomb through our Living Lent series. Attendance so far on Wednesdays has been fair. It would sure be nice to see more of you during the midweek services because after all they’re not just for me and my family’s benefit, but yours. If driving at night is a concern, we have an abridged service at noon in the church basement with soup.

May the God of all hope bring you peace and understanding this Lent and Easter,

Pastor Don