“Be Glad for Jesus!”
Beloved Church-in-the-Garden Family & Friends,
As I continue to try to make sense of the world we live in and the pervasive societal ills that we yet still do not acknowledge nor look to cure, I am reminded of that hopeful admonition: Be Glad for Jesus! The old preacher would forcefully shout out that declarative affirmation when the spirit was moving in service. The power of that statement would reverberate within the congregation, particularly with the elders of the church who knew that in spite of all the things that they had endured, Jesus was still in the blessing business.
Indeed, as we come upon Holy Week, and as I reflect on what has become the all too regular occurrences of gun violence in this country, I take solace and conviction in Jesus Christ. This is not to suggest that I am unaffected or have become immune to the violence. Those of you who have been in service know that I have consistently spoken out against this culture’s long history of guns, greed, death, and violence. When it comes to making meaningful changes to gun control, policy, and legislation, our so-called leaders’ ineffective and cowardly political stances, and shameful short-term amnesia when lobbyists offer money and influence, leaves us rightfully outraged and frustrated.
However, my ire is not only raised when addressing the senseless violence and weapons that are made to inflict maximum damage with the least amount of effort in as little amount of time as possible. In fact, just reading the daily news one can plainly see the fact that many key aspects of our society are lacking or suffering. For example, public education for the youth in this country is suffering mightily. Incarceration of young black and brown men still goes unabated. Income inequality and non-livable wages are still persistent in this society. Sin and the manifestation of sin: hate, racism, sexism, misogyny, etc… are all maladies of this culture and it can make life hell.
But, “Be glad for Jesus!” I say this with the theological temerity of the old saints who came before me. Those who made it through painful personal and public storms that would have felled those who had no hope in Jesus Christ. Those who soldiered on through the crusades of inequality, systemic oppression, assaults, and hard times, but kept their faith, walked by faith, believed in faith, and overcame by faith in Jesus Christ.
Be glad for Jesus! As we march towards Holy Week. Be glad for Jesus! Even in the midst of all that is wrong with this world and issues that we face daily in our lives; Jesus is still working miracles. Be glad for Jesus! As some may discount or not understand what you believe, just know that we serve a risen savior! Be glad for Jesus because Jesus Lives!
I want to invite all of you to come and join us for Palm Sunday and for Resurrection Sunday. Tell someone you know to come to the Church-in-the-Garden where they will be witness to the awesome power of God in worship! On Resurrection Sunday at 8:30am we will have our Pancake Breakfast in Doane Hall. We invite you to come and eat breakfast but stay and be fed in our Resurrection Sunday Service! It promises to be a special time in the Lord. Be glad for Jesus!
Rev. Earl Y. Thorpe Jr.