Grace, mercy, and peace to you in our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Dear Family of God at Grace,
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia! I hope you had a blessed Resurrection and you are still rejoicing in the "Good News" that the tomb is empty and Jesus lives! It is my hope that this Lenten season, Passion Week, and the joy of Easter Sunday was a blessing to you as much as it was a blessing to me. Watching the Passion movie on Good Friday was hard but truly edifying as we then that evening read through the Biblical account of Jesus trial, suffering and crucifixion. Having the visual fresh in my mind as we heard the Word helped put Jesus' cross and suffering in a brutal reality for me. I know that is not pleasant yet it makes Easter Sunday so much more joyful know what Jesus did for you and for me!
Now as I said on Easter Sunday, dear friends in Christ, we live between the cross and the empty tomb. Jesus says to daily take up our cross and follow him. While we are alive we live in, under, on the cross of Christ and our own. We are cross people. We preach Christ crucified. The empty tomb is coming. It is yours through Christ but it is not yet fully realized. We still live in this world of crosses. Our empty tomb is coming. It is our sure and certain hope!
This is the way of the Christian, cross before empty tomb, suffering before glory. This was Jesus way. In baptism, we are joined to Jesus and he is joined to us. On this cross to empty tomb journey we are not alone. Jesus is with us. The "Good News" is that he has already made the journey for us. He knows the way. He is the way. May God bless you as you live with Jesus between the cross and the empty tomb!
On Holy Saturday, we had 6 of our confirmands go through the right of first communion. These 6 wonderful young people were taken through the Rite of Confirmation on Sunday April 30th at the late service. They did a fantastic job with their essays. They worked very hard throughout the last 2 years preparing for their Confirmation. You can be proud of them as I am proud of them! Their essays will be on display in the Fellowship Hall.
I hope all our Northern family members enjoyed their time with us down here in this beautiful paradise called Naples. Please know that we do miss you when you head north and that we are praying for your safe travel and for your safety while you are away from us. While it is nice to not have lines in restaurants over the summer, I would rather wait in line than not have you with us! If there is anything that your Grace family can do for you while you are away, please let us know. Have a blessed summer!
A heads-up on coming events. Don't forget that Mother's Day is Sunday May 14th. Our annual Memorial Day service will be held on Saturday May 28th at 3 PM. Our preacher for this service will be Chaplain Rev. Gary Danielson U.S. Army. See you there!
In His Service,