March 2020 Connection

A Pastoral Letter –  Lent/Easter 2020

Dear beloved:
In a world riddled with violence, paralyzed by self-interest, and numbed by despair—where do we turn for comfort, for direction, for hope? The Jesus we celebrate in the season of Lent is our companion as we move in an environment of a violent world.

In recalling the biblical story, storm troopers seized Jesus outside the Garden of Gethsemane. They interrogated him, beat him with a leather strap studded with fragments of glass, and spit on him. In mock homage, they draped him in a purple robe, pushed a crown of thorns deep into his forehead, and pushed him out before the crowd who cried for his blood, and then they nailed him to a cross where he hung, suffering until he died.

Three years of ministry healing, teaching, and empowering, and reconciling people….three years of preaching the good news of God’s love and peace, had come to this. This man, Jesus, drew the crowds and performed miracles….Jesus whom thousands of people had wanted to proclaim King, was not perceived as failure. The despair was fathomless. The world on Good Friday was bleak beyond imagination.

But the final word was with God. They had seized Jesus, they had crucified him, but they could not hold him down. In the rumbling of the earth, God moved with the power of love without limits — a love so strong and mighty that all human experience was transfigured….so powerful that life overcame death. On Sunday morning the tomb was empty. What the world had judged as a failure became a victory that changed the world forever, and if we believe in resurrection faith, our lives can and will be changed as well. GBUMC WILL BE CHANGED TOO!
The resurrection was God’s validation of life the life of Christ—forgiveness triumphs over hatred…compassion over self-centeredness, and confident love over brutality and violence. As we prepare to take the Lenten journey, may each of us come to live in the power of Christ’s resurrection. May we come to believe that we are empowered to love…to heal…to put an end to violence of the body, mind and spirit….to be willing and able to keep justice alive for the oppressed, marginalized and forgotten. I invite each of you to take the victory of Easter into your soul and let it strengthen you to live with the power of Easter.
To God be the glory,
Julius E. Del Pino, Pastor
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