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From the Pastor: April 2024





Dear Friends,

Spring is officially here, and this weekend we anticipate two beautiful Easter Sunday services filled with joyous music, overflowing lilies, and our best Easter bonnets. Last weekend, our ecumenical Palm Sunday Processional with all the village churches was a happy celebration, highlighted by Nut the donkey, escorted by a young member looking very Jesus-y, and heralded by children ringing chimes. Hosanna!


Flowers are budding, crocuses are peeping up, and the birds are singing away. So why do I still feel cold? For all the joy of Palm Sunday, we were literally hopping up and down to keep warm as we sang. All things considered, it was a mild winter here in the Hudson Valley, but I haven’t put away my thermal underwear just yet. I may not be wearing my heaviest coat, but I’m definitely bundled up in the morning. I know warmer weather is on its way, but sometimes we resist giving our hearts over to the season, lest we be disappointed by freezing flurries yet to come. Still . . . we have had the odd day of warm sun in the afternoon, and almost despite ourselves, our hearts grow light, our mood brightens, and we feel more in love with the world, our neighbors, God and ourselves. Hope springs eternal, or perhaps eternal spring hopes.


It’s in this context every year, straddling the fence between the cold lifelessness of winter and the hopeful vitality of spring, that we move through the last days of Lent, processing through Palm Sunday and the dark passion of the Christ toward the explosion of life that is Easter. In a way, that is how we live our entire lives: in the midst of suffering and death, unending toil, and fear and horror of man’s inhumanity to man, every season of our lives is winter. Hearts are barren and frozen, and the world screams at us that it will always be this way. We hardly dare hope for spring, but we see signs of it peeping through nevertheless: the love of our families, the caring of strangers reaching out, and communities working for justice and reconciliation. Easter is on its way, even if the only promise we can see is a dandelion weed pushing through the cold mud in the melting slush. Christ is risen; the Lord is come. Love will have its way in the end.


“The Lord is risen indeed!” (Luke 24:34) Happy Easter!


Love and light,

Martin

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