Easter 2024

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13 (CEB)

Greetings Siblings in Christ,

A blessed and joyful Easter Season to you!  Each year before I begin my Easter letter, I pray and think ‘what can I share about the amazing gift of Resurrection Sunday?’  As my faith grows, deepens, transforms continually, I always see something differently about God’s gift of the resurrection.  This year is hope.  

We hear that we are living in an unprecedented time of upheaval in politics, in social relationships, in economy.  I don’t know if this is fact as I, nor I am guessing most of us, have not experienced humanity’s acts since its inception.  It is, we can say, a time of significant riptides which will eventually settle down and we will experience new ways of being in relationship.  I know this because I have read and listened more about human history in the last few years.  As hard as some things might be to see, or read or listen to, I know that eventually things will come round – maybe only little by little – to how God envisioned all to be before the creation of life.  The other thing I know, and I do mean, know – is that hope is most activated in community.  Yes, we can activate it on our own, but our decision to act comes out of human experiences which are never alone; we have ancestors we have learned from; we have eyes which have seen how others have transformed situations, we have ears that have heard how people changed and moved in a better direction.  We are communal creatures and hope lives and thrives in community.  And, Jesus taught us that one does not have to believe in him as the Christ to receive hope and have hope carried for them when they are not strong enough to hold it all for themselves.  Jesus the Christ offered hope to anyone who had hoped for in a new way of being and living.  

It is what we are called to do as followers of Jesus the Christ.  We activate hope for those who seek, for those who cannot carry it all by themselves for the moment.  We help people, teach people, share with people, that humanity will become as God has called it into becoming even if we cannot see it or its luminescence on the horizon.  We may do this in mundane ways, providing the basics of life; in praying unceasingly, in listening for however long it takes, in seeing something humorous, even when it is dark and heavy.  We activate hope.

Since October, 2023, many have been focused on the war between Hamas and Israel, the massive destruction of Gaza and the slaughter of the innocence of Gaza.  While most eyes have been on Gaza, the people of the West Bank, Palestine, who have been under Israeli occupation since at least 1967, are experiencing a heavy increase in attacks by the Israeli military, and the illegal settlers.  They have come into Palestinian towns and villages, destroyed farmlands and homes, harassed farmers trying to harvest and plant, blocked off roads so people cannot travel to work and to teach children in schools; illegal settlers armed with machine guns have traversed into villages harassed the villagers, including children. Because no travel to Israel allowed, there is also no work for most Palestinians, so providing for necessities, like food and basic healthcare items is impossible.  In the village of Wadi Foquin, with whom we have a deep relationship with through Friends of Wadi Foquin, a Cal-Nevada UMC Conference recognized ministry, we can offer hope by helping provide care packages to the most desperate families.  While they would prefer to be working and providing for themselves, at this time, they cannot.  So, we can.  We can activate hope through giving to those seeking, those who cannot hold all the hope at this time. We can be Jesus. 

Our 2024 Easter offering will directly benefit the villagers of Wadi Foquin, West Bank, Palestine until they are freer to fully support themselves and support one another.  We invite you to join us. You can make your offering by way of online giving through our Website, by check to BMUC – in the memo section write “Easter Offering,” or cash.  You can give your Easter offering anytime between now and Easter worship at 10:30 am, Sunday, March 31. Our offerings of hope will be delivered to the villagers of Wadi Foquin through the Friends of Wadi Foquin ministry.
God bless you.  Keep holding hope; and if that is hard, ask others to hold some for you.  See you Easter Sunday.  Blessings.

Shalom, Salaam,

Rev. Pamela L. Kurtz, Pastor