Grace (Alsace)
United Church of Christ

2151 Kutztown Road, Reading, PA  19605
"A Welcoming Community in God’s Service since 1732"

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From the Pastor
The Reverend Billy Graham told of a time early in his ministry when he arrived in a small town to preach a sermon. Wanting to mail a letter, he asked a young boy where the post office was. When the boy had told him, Dr. Graham thanked him and said, "If you'll come to the Baptist Church this evening, you can hear me telling everyone how to get to heaven." The boy replied, "I don't think I'll be there... You don't even know your way to the post office."
Another young boy knew very well how to get to heaven: his pastor asked the children what they had to do in order to be resurrected. They boy quickly replied “Die”.
That was indeed the correct answer. Before you can live a new life you must experience death. That is true in order to live again after death, which we celebrate during this Easter Season. We rejoice in the good news that death has been conquered, that the grave has no hold on us. God loves us so much that God wants us to be with him for eternity, and has made that possible through Jesus’ life-giving death, resurrection, and ascension.
But the message of Easter isn’t only about life after death. It is also very much about resurrection and new life in this world. The story of dying and rising is not merely Christ’s story, it is our story. Jesus lived and died so that we can have new life this day and every day. The Risen Lord invites us follow Christ’s pattern: dying to fear and sinful desire and rising in expectation of new life.
Colossians 3:1 says: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Galatians 2:20 says: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now lives in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” There are many more passages
that repeat the teaching of Jesus: that he has come to bring new beginnings as we give our lives over to God and allow Him to live in us and through us. cannot be changed. You may have to give up false ways of looking at yourself and who you thought you were, in order to become who you were created to be. You may have to give up bad habits or unhealthy ways of dealing with others.
A child in the womb of his mother has to “die” to life as a fetus, existing in a comfortable, dark and safe environment in order to be born into the physical world where he is going to continue existence and growth. We give up our childhood in order to become self-sufficient. In our senior years, many of us have to die to pride and independence as we learn the humbleness of accepting help with even the most basic of tasks. We have to let go in order to embrace new ways of living.
Jesus calls us to die to whatever it is that keeps us from being the whole persons that we are meant to be. It’s not easy to do that. But death is not the end – it is a portal to new life.
May the Risen Christ enable you to discover what must die as you accept his invitation to new life.

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