Clippings From the Vinedresser

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?  Psalm 8:3-4

We could add, especially at this time of year, trees budding, flowers blooming, birds chirping, bees buzzing, mud puddles and on and on.  What a glorious time of year to look at, meditate on, and give thanks for the work of God’s fingers. It really is amazing.  Who doesn’t love it!

New life is all around us and it refreshes us. That is the joy of Easter.  It is no accident that Easter is in the spring.  As we celebrate the reawakening of creation after a long dormant winter, so, too, we celebrate the new life that Jesus’ resurrection brings.

The most obvious consequence of the resurrection is, of course, that death has been defeated.  Oh, death rears its ugly head on a regular basis, but it no longer has the power to hold.  We know that as Jesus lives we too will live.  On that last day, when the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, we will rise to meet our Lord Jesus.  What a glorious day that will be.

But there are all manner of signs of the resurrection around us.  The resurrection brings hope into hopeless situations.  No longer do we mope in the attitude of “What’s the use.”  No no.  Because we have been raised with Christ, we have the power to do all things in his name.  What hope that inspires.

More than that, fear has been pushed aside.  When Peter in his letter writes that perfect loves casts out all fear, what is more perfect than the love that dies that we might live, a love that then bursts forth from the grave, alive forevermore?  Nothing.  Empowered by that perfect love, we no longer fear what others think about or what they can do to us.

Empowered by that love we are free to reach out in Jesus’ name with that love, showering that love freely upon all, and I mean ALL.  There is no selectivity in this love.  As Jesus loved us while we were yet sinners, i.e., enemies, so we love: all people.  Period. We never judge or condemn.  We love.

Empowered by that love we continue the work which Jesus started, bringing about the kingdom of heaven.  It is hard work, at times thankless work, but we do it with smiles on our faces and love in our hearts.  We bring food and clothes to those have little.  We stand up and speak for those whose voices have been muted.  We fight for justice for all people, insulted and angered by the injustice we see all around us. We are, as we were commanded at our baptism, lights in the world.

And what a blossoming, blooming,  chirping, and buzzing that comes about when we bring this new life into our homes, schools, communities.  Yes, there are those messy mud puddles from time-to-time, but admit it, who doesn’t like to splash through a puddle.

Easter has set us free to be Jesus people in this world, to be, as Luther said, little Christs to those around us. And oh, what a wonderful world it is because of it.

Pastor Dennis

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