A Word From Our Pastor: May 2013 Don’t Be Afraid to Live

When we talk about the significance of Easter, we are grateful for the gift of eternal life.  Jesus’ resurrection means that the power of God is stronger than death, and so, we, like Jesus, are promised immortality of our souls. . .  In other words, after we die, we can expect to live on in spirit form.  So, we can say, Easter means we don’t have to be afraid to die.

But it means much more than that.  Easter also means, “don’t be afraid to live.”

“Eternal life” is not just about the hereafter.  It is a wonderful thing, to be sure, to be confident that we will be welcomed into another kind of existence after our bodies fail.  But Jesus in the gospel of John tells us, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

Eternal life:  to know God.  That’s possible, here and now – no waiting required!  The disciples understood this type of eternal life, soon after Easter morning.  After the resurrection, the disciples continued to experience Jesus in a way that was incredibly real – so real, that they knew that his death was not “final” – that he continued to be a living presence who comforted them, continued to teach them, and helped them to be a community inspired to change the world.

Christ’s living presence is here for us, as well.  When the two disciples recognized Jesus “in the breaking of the bread”  (as the story of the walk to Emmaus tells us), when we do Christ-like things, Jesus is present.  The two did not recognize Jesus as they walked together on the road, but when they invited that stranger to dine with them, they understood, and suddenly recognized Jesus “in the breaking of the bread.”  When we do Christ-like things, Jesus is present.

Christ is present in our community when we do Christ-like things of listening deeply to one another, comfort one another pray for one another, study together and worship together.  With proper prayerful intention, we can feel God’s presence in our togetherness.

Christ is also present to us in our quiet moments of reflection and prayer.  When we study the Bible with the desire to use its teaching to transform our lives, certain ideas enlighten us, so that we feel that God is speaking directly to us.

Christ is present when we step out in faith and do something Christ-like that challenges us.   When we cross boundaries to reach out to others by serving them, fellowshipping with them, or just getting to know them, we experience our unity as children of God, no matter our outward differences.   We know why Jesus wanted to eat with sinners and tax collectors – because they are beloved by God, as we all are.  God intends the human family to treat each other with love and respect – and it is easier than we think – when Christ is present.

So, as we continue the celebration of the Easter season – remember, “don’t be afraid to live.”  Christ is with us, day in and day out.  When we open ourselves in commitment and prayer, we are guided, comforted and challenged to live in a way that is a celebration of resurrection.  Second chances, new beginnings, the possibility of finding life in every “death. . .”   Our lives can be an adventure – to know God, and to follow God to amazing places.  .  . Don’t be afraid to live!

Celebrate new life in Christ!

Rev. Naomi

P.S.  “Don’t be afraid to live” is an idea that is quoted in the “Living the Questions” Bible Study that we are using at our Monday sessions.  Join us if you are interested (1:30-2:45p.m.)!

Join us for Pentecost Sunday, May 19, for an all-music celebration!


The next four-week BMUC faith study series began Sunday, April 28 at 9:00 in Kato Hall, or Wednesday, May 1 at 5:55 in the Choir Loft (before choir practice).  What are the gifts of neighborliness?  What are the risks?  What did Jesus say?  Come learn and share!