May 2022 – A Letter from Pastor Lori

Easter is a long season and believe it or not we do spend a larger portion of May still in the season. I do believe there is a song that maybe some of you have sung at one time or another called “Every Morning is Easter Morning.” The chorus of the song begins with these words, “Every morning is Easter morning from now on” and do these words ever ring true.

 

But honestly do we ever grow tired of hearing the Easter story or does it leave with the celebration of Easter morning? I would answer this hopefully not. So how do we continue celebrating Easter every morning?  Well, it is through abiding in the presence of Christ.

Abiding is defined as “remain, wait, delay, remain behind.” It’s a word that’s typically used to describe a feeling or memory that remains behind or lingers in your mind a while. You can have an abiding faith in God, or an abiding respect for war veterans or an abiding passion. So how do we do this in ourselves?  How do we encourage abiding behavior in a congregation? This month I ask that you look at these three ways of abiding to help with your ability and your tendency and desire to abide in Christ.

 

First is Silence.  Believe it or not, silence is a good practice, and for some, it is difficult to achieve. But silence is a space where we can let God take control. It allows us to surrender ourselves to the working of the Spirit and the voice of God. If you have a difficult time with being silent, you should find a place to sit where you are comfortable, take deep breaths, and say a simple prayer such as this, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening”, and then let your mind drift. The truth is, if you can experience silence on a regular basis, we can learn to abide, but it does take some practice. So take some time for silence.

 

The second might sound the opposite but it is another good way to abide in Christ and that is through music. Music fills us with sound instead of silence. And sometimes sounds, like a direct sound can lead us into deeper communion with Christ and with one another. I do stress that the challenge is not to get through the music as quickly as you can but listen to the words, feel the melody, dwell in it, and let it wash over you. You can get lost in the sound and words. So, listen deeply to the words, feel the rhythm, and lean into the moment and be alive to what happens inside of you as you hear and feel.

 

The third one is a bit different but allows a heightening of your focus, it is paying attention to the Word.  Listen to the Word as if it is the very word coming from the mouth of Jesus. And if you take the time to read it, do it with intensity and with passion. I am not saying as you sit in your comfortable place to read them loudly or with certain emphasis or movement, but rather as important words that you need to hear, or instructions on how to live fully and deeply in a complicated and threatening world. Do not let them be words that you have read over and over again but allow them to be words that encourage life today and then lean on them. Take time, pause often, and repeat the phrases that touch your heart and ring in your ears before moving to the next thought.

 

People of Christ, these are just a few of the things that I do to abide in Christ. Yes, they do take practice and dedication, but it also allows hope in the future. It allows my heart to be open for an opportunity for Christ to come into my heart over and over again. And that is what abiding means to me, being able to listen and connect with Christ every day.

Do not be afraid to find new ways of abiding because every morning is Easter morning from now on.

 

Blessing on the month ahead,

 

Pastor Lori