These past few months have been filled with good-byes at St. Peter’s. We said good-bye to Scott and Sue McMahan who have moved to their mountain home in Montana. We will say good-bye to Vicar Thomas at the end of this month as he finishes his internship and moves back to Temecula to await seminary graduation and next steps in the candidacy process. We have had a number of memorial services where we celebrated the life and death of our dear loved ones. Our year started with the January deaths of Elizabeth Sjokvist, Phillips Gausewitz, Gerry Hoffner and Violet Matson. These St. Peter’s by the Sea church members are so dearly missed. A number of church family also experienced significant loss these past months with the death of parents and siblings. Death surrounds us. But it is Easter! Life surrounds us; Hope surrounds us! As Christian believers we know that this life is just a prelude to Eternal Life that has been promised us by our covenant-making God. And it takes courage to believe that.
Our congregational deacons have a dinner and study hour with the pastor each month. We have been reading “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande. You may have seen the PBS Frontline special a few years ago by that same name. Gawande writes about the process of aging and dying that all of us get to participate in if we are blessed to live beyond middle age. It is a good book that I would encourage you to pick up. He writes about courage:
At least two kinds of courage are required in aging and sickness. The first is the courage to confront the reality of mortality – the courage to seek out the truth of what is to be feared and what is to be hoped. Such courage is difficult enough. We have many reasons to shrink from it. But even more daunting is the second kind of courage – the courage to act on the truth we find. The problem is that the wise course is so frequently unclear. For a long while, I thought that this was simply because of uncertainty. When it is hard to know what will happen, it is hard to know what to do. But the challenge, I’ve come to see, is more fundamental than that. One has to decide whether one’s fears or one’s hopes are what should matter most.
This Easter season we are invited to focus on our hopes. Easter tells us that Christ is alive, life is stronger than death, and love wins…every time! We are anticipating celebrating a few baptisms (Silas Gilsdorf and Charlotte Young) during these 50 days of Easter. We also hope to welcome other new members to our church family during this season as well. If you, or someone you know, might be interested in membership here at St. Peter’s by the Sea Lutheran Church, invite them!
Blessings on you and yours during this great season of Easter, of New Life.
Living in God’s most amazing grace,
Pastor Karen Marohn