A Message from Pastor Will Kroeze:
“Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
Dear friends in Christ,
Maybe it’s because we’re fresh off our observance of Ash Wednesday and just heard the words “remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return” or maybe it’s because I’m a news junkie and see story after story about terrible tragedy, but I’ve found myself thinking quite a bit about death lately. Not that I’m morbidly preoccupied with it or anything, but I’ve been spending a lot of time wondering about the nature of it and, like many others, trying to make sense of it all.
I suppose Lent is as good a time as any to think about our mortality, especially because we begin Lent being reminded that we will all some day return to the ground from which we came. And Lent ends with Holy Week, when we contemplate the final days of Our Lord’s life on this earth: his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, his final evening spent with the ones he loved, his betrayal, his trial and the agony he experienced on the cross. As all these events neared, his disciples certainly found themselves trying to make sense of it all and wondering why things would have to happen the way they did.
Jesus’ response to their wondering – the words above – are important words for us all to keep in our hearts. Without falling into the ground and dying, a grain of wheat remains just that: a single grain. But when that grain is allowed to die in the earth, it is capable of far more than if it had been left alone. So it was with the death of Jesus, and so it is with us as well. The road to the glory of the empty tomb goes through the darkness of Golgotha, the joy of Easter only comes after the pain of Good Friday.
Whether it is coming to terms with the end of our mortal lives, or putting to death a harmful relationship that keeps you from being fully alive, or closing one chapter in your life and beginning to write another – even ending a ministry in the church and giving birth to something new – death is difficult. But especially now, as we prepare to go through the pain of Holy Week and celebrate the glorious resurrection of Christ at Easter, we must always be reminded that, as Christians, death is always followed by life. As the Psalmist says, “Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
May we always look with hope to the future, trusting in God’s promises. And may we always remember that our lives are in the hands of a God whose promises are never broken.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Will Kroeze