PASTOR'S NEWS & VIEWS
Why Do You Look For The
Living Among The Dead?
When the women arrive at the tomb on Easter morning the messengers in dazzling clothes ask the women, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” In many ways this is the central question for Easter and our entire lives as the baptized children of God. Jesus Christ is alive, raised from the dead. A new day has dawned and by God’s grace love triumphs over hate, joy over sadness, hope over despair and that cadence goes on and on.
On Easter Sunday, it is the same question for us. Why do we look for what is wrong instead of celebrating what is right? Why do we share critique more quickly than affirmation? Why do we assume the worst instead of looking for signs of hope and new beginning? Why do we live in anger and not by gracious love? Why do we concentrate on what divides us instead of listening for the common ground where your story meets my story?
Why? Because we are broken, fragile human beings who know well the hurt, fear and anxiety of life. We tend to live from that story of brokenness and not the Easter story of new life. The beauty of this moment is that the question does not come as accusation, but invitation. Jesus Christ is alive and invites us to look for life among the living. There we will see God. There we will see one another in new and wondrous ways.
In the name of the risen Lord, Jesus Christ,
Pastor David Wrightsman
PS: For further study and prayer... Prayer Guide in the Week of Easter
Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed! We join with all earth and heaven in singing our Alleluias! The question of the messengers, the angels, is our prayer question for the week(s) ahead: why do we look for the living among the dead? Why do we expect the worst? Why do we resist change? Why do we seek comfort over surprise? May this beautiful message of Easter shape your daily prayer this week: Lord, how do I now seek the living among the living?
Luke 24:5: The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the man said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen.”
Sometimes I wonder if the church should adopt a one-word mission statement: "Stop." Just getting people (including myself) to slow down and to reflect is what one might call a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal)! Our ministry programs and our worship at Living Waters reflect this mission. Most of what we do involves an invitation to step back for a period of time in this season of Lent and reflect.
“Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:14-27
The Season of Lent starts this week! Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent on March 6. Some have called Lent, "Spring time for the Soul." Initially Lent was a period of baptismal instruction for new believers. New converts would study in preparation for their baptism on Easter morning so that they could celebrate the resurrection of our Lord with new-found joy.
I encourage you to make this season of Lent a time of great spiritual renewal. Come to the Ash Wednesday service at 7 pm on March 6. Have ashes put on your forehead and hear the words, "Remember from dust you have come and to dust you shall return." While the words remind us that one day we will all die, they are intended to be life-giving in that they remind us of how dependent we are on God for true life and salvation.
Join us on the following Wednesday evenings for our Lenten Evening Worship at 7:00 pm starting on March 13. Along with the beautiful music of the Holden Evening Prayer liturgy, we begin a 5-week drama series revolving around the theme, "Faith and Doubt".
Our theme comes to us from Mark 9, where we hear the familiar story of Jesus healing the young man who was possessed by an evil spirit, and who was convulsing in a terrible seizure. Yet before Jesus casts out this spirit, he has a dialogue with the boy’s father. Jesus asks him, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” the father answered. “ But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus replied, “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”
How often do you feel this way? Asking things like, Lord, I do believe, and yet I often have doubts. Lord, I know that I should trust you in my daily difficulties, but sometimes I question whether you are there, or whether you hear my prayers, or whether you love me like others.
Perhaps somewhere in your upbringing, you may have been told that you just need to believe. You need to put your doubts aside and simply trust God. You need to not be weak but stand strong in the promises of God. In other words, doubt was seen as the enemy to defeat.
Yet in and through this series we want to reassure you that not only does doubt not need to be a bad thing, it is often an important part of developing and growing one’s faith. In other words, you cannot have a strong faith if you have not struggled with doubts.
Faith and Doubt. How would you assess where your spiritual life is at these days? Make sure you worship these weeks not only on Sundays but on Wednesdays and invite others to come with you.
It is with great joy and anticipation as I come to serve Living Waters Lutheran Church in Lino Lakes as your new interim pastor. Thank you for the kindness that you have already extended to me since meeting several of you this month. I am humbled to serve with you and ask for your prayers as we together seek God's mission and ministry in the months ahead.
I live in Stillwater along with my wife, Lauren, and three teenage children: Carolyn 18 (a first-year student at Luther College in Decorah, IA), Benjamin 16 and Adelee 14, both students at Stillwater High school. My wife Lauren is also a pastor and serves at Roseville Lutheran Church in Roseville.
I have served the church in the Twin Cities for the past 29 years in a variety of ways; as urban youth worker, teacher, community partnership builder, campus ministry, interim pastor and as pastor. I have worked in the urban, campus, small town and suburban ministry settings. Along with serving as part-time interim pastor at Living Waters, I also serve during the academic year at Augsburg University in campus ministry.