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Message From the Pastor - Ken Radant

Here’s something I don’t get to say very often:  Happy February 29!  If there are any folks out there with Feb 29 birthdays, a special “happy birthday!” to you as well, since we don’t get to say that very often. Enjoy being only ¼ as old as the rest of us. 

Tomorrow we flip the calendar to March, and this year that means we’re into the countdown to Easter. I realize that for those who practice the disciplines of Lent, Easter anticipation is already well underway. Still, at least for me, I become more conscious that this very special day is approaching when I see it highlighted every time I look at my calendar.

I find the reminder helpful. It becomes an occasion to reflect on all that Easter means, which allows me to come to the actual day mentally prepared and able to participate even more fully. Perhaps you feel something similar? If so, you might consider spending some time in the next few weeks reading the Easter story in one or more of the Gospels, or perhaps even watching one of the excellent films available on Jesus’ life.

Another pre-Easter exercise I recommend is to read Luke 24:13-35, where we get the story of Jesus walking the road to Emmaus with several disciples. You will remember the story, I’m sure. These individuals had followed Jesus and come to believe He was the Messiah, only to have their hopes dashed at the crucifixion. Journeying down that road, Jesus helped them to understand why these things had to happen, then allowed them to recognize Him as the Risen One—and their thinking about those events changed completely.

The point of this exercise is to ask myself: what would it have been like to see Jesus’ death as those disciples did when it first happened before everything became clear? What would I have thought? How would I have felt? And how different does everything become for me once I understand God’s purpose in Jesus’ death and the ultimate result in the resurrection? 

This exercise has 2 huge benefits. First, it helps us to remember what the cross and all our other Easter symbols look like to a person who doesn’t know Christ and who hasn’t been taught about the faith. (To them, the whole thing seems a bit crazy.) That equips us to share and explain more effectively with our neighbors.  Second, by walking down our own mental version of the Emmaus road, we may get a fresh sense of just how wonderful, amazing, and transforming the events of Easter really are.  And that’s certainly worth doing!

Whether or not you find the time for the exercise, we’re going to do something similar over the next 4 Sundays, as our sermons consider the meaning of the cross in light of some important OT teaching. I pray that this, too, will help us to appreciate the wonder of Easter even more as we come up on the big day.

Meanwhile, I hope you have a great day and week. Enjoy your February 29!