“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies it bears much fruit.  Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life, in this world will keep in for eternal life.  If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.” John 12:23-26

 

Spring is here…sort of.  Thomas and I walked around the yard a little bit this week and we found flowers, in several places, pushing up through the ground.  What a timely reminder that the thaw is on and winter’s grip is loosening.  We are beginning to see the fruit of the previous year’s death.  This is a concept we all understand from experience, yet when it is put in to words, “the fruit of death” it sounds strange.

Death is not fruitful…it is the opposite of fruitful.  Whatever potential for fruitfulness existed disappears with the last traces of life.  Yet, we know that once a living thing comes to its end and goes back into the ground what was left of it contributes to new life.  Sometimes, the amount of new life far exceeds that of the original organism.  The earth breaks down the organic material of the formerly living thing, and its pieces become food and fuel and parts for the next generation.  It is a remarkably efficient system and its designer deserves all our praise.

This truth of life that we all know from experience…that death contributes to new life, becomes a perfect metaphor for that which will be produced when Jesus the Christ “falls into the earth and dies”.  God, in His infinite wisdom, established this plan to bring new life from death.  Jesus, in laying down His own life, would provide, with His death, the resources that would be necessary for this new growth to happen.  His death would make a way for a new people from all corners of the earth and every generation to come together into “a people for His own possession.”

So for us as Christians we approach the Passion Week, especially Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, with death on our minds.  Not because we are morbidly fixated on the macabre.  But because we would not be who we are if it weren’t for this one, very special death.  This month let us celebrate and venerate the death of Jesus for what it made us into…and let us do so knowing that His death was not the final word.  Rather, “Death is swallowed up in victory…thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Updates/Announcements/News:

  • Ecumenical Good Friday (Stations of the Cross) service begins at 11:00 am at First Baptist on 4/14.
  • HBF Good Friday Service will be at 6:00 pm followed by a Bread and Broth dinner.
  • Easter Sunrise Service (First Baptist, Park UMC, and HBF) will be at 7:00 am on Sunday 4/16 at the Hamilton Village Green followed by breakfast at Park UMC.
  • Brunch to follow HBF’s Easter service
  • Special Offering 4/9, 4/16, 4/23 to go to The Impact Project
    • The Impact Project is looking for volunteers to help install a handicap ramp at the American Legion in New Berlin on 6/7-6/10; there will be an opportunity to sign up as the date approaches.
  • At the Annual Meeting the congregation voted to approve the proposed by-laws by a vote of 32-1
  • An updated church directory was emailed out this week with some changes. Please make sure you are using the latest version of the directory, and, if you need to make changes please email them to me.