Tag Archives: Easter

The stone has already been rolled back – Alleluia!! (April Newsletter Article)


5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.

Mark 16:5-6


Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!


Dear friends in Christ,

As you read this newsletter we will be into the Easter season, yet as I write it we are just entering Holy Week. After a season of turning to God (again and again!) and attempting to dwell and abide at the foot of the cross, I am experiencing a tangible yearning to again proclaim:

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!


We yearn for this part of the story. The part of the story that we too often are tempted to call “the end.” I have frequently given thanks for knowing “the rest of the story.” However, in reality, we are still in the midst of the story. And the gospel of Mark, our primary companion in this years liturgical readings, is a good reminder that the story continues as the Easter story in the gospel of Mark ends quite abruptly and highlights the unresolved hopes and fears of the disciples.


We too still have unresolved hopes and fears. We live in an already and not yet time in which resurrection is ongoing with the work of the Holy Spirit in our own lives and the life of the church. We carry the story of the risen Christ out into the world as a part of our own stories. And as the body of the Christ, the people of God in this time and place, we are called to live out the possibilities of resurrection as we live out this ongoing story.


While pondering the connection of God’s ongoing story with our own this week I was drawn to a quote from the Easter sermon given three years ago by Rev. Carrie Ballenger Smith while preaching at sunrise on the Mount of Olives. She said in part:

“As people of the cross, we are called to continue on the path to peace, justice, and reconciliation—even when it is difficult. Even when it is dangerous. Even when others call us foolish. Even when the world insists the stone is too large, too heavy, too complicated to be moved. But on Easter morning, we are reminded of the good news that the stone has already been rolled back!


Therefore, as people of the resurrection, we walk not with heads down and backs bent with grief, but with eyes on the empty tomb. As people of the resurrection, we lift our eyes to the hills and mountains of Jerusalem, the city of resurrection, from which we draw our help and strength. As people of the resurrection, we have nothing to fear: no stone, no terror group, no extremist rhetoric, no unjust policy, no racist agenda, no diagnosis, no wall.” (You can read the full text here: http://knitpurlpraypreach.blogspot.com/2015/04/easter-sunrise-sermon-5-april-2015-mt.html)


The stone has already been rolled back – Alleluia!!


As we celebrate with joy this Easter (and beyond!), may whatever is weighing you down, be rolled away to reveal new life and peace. As we transition not only from Winter to Spring, but also from Lent to Easter, may we live our stories in the light of Christ.


As we continue to look to prayer and scripture, I share below and Easter prayer and blessing that you may experience when worshipping with us during this season, so that you may pray along with us at home as well.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Tami


An Easter Prayer of the Day

God of mercy, we no longer look for Jesus among the dead, for he is alive and has become the Lord of life. Increase in our minds and hearts the risen life we share with Christ, and help us to grow as your people toward the fullness of eternal life with you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.



May God who has brought us from death to life

fill you with great joy.

Almighty God, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit,

bless you now and forever. Amen.



Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

You are the body of Christ raised up for the world.

Go in peace. Share the good news.

Thanks be to God.

Sundays and Seasons v.20180102.1014

Copyright © 2018 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.



March Newsletter article

12After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord — and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13: 12-14 and 34-35

Throughout March we continue within the season of Lent, a time when we are called to return to God. On Sundays our Hebrew Bible scripture readings include those of covenants or promises made with the people of God, our Psalms respond to those readings as well as being primarily psalms of Lament during this season, our second readings are new testament epistle readings that remind us of the cross of Christ, and then our gospel readings prepare us for Holy Week and the path to the cross. In this season of returning to God then it is natural to turn that focus directly to the cross.


Our midweek Lenten worship services provide a space for such focus with a meditative and participatory worship acknowledging that we indeed live our lives beneath the cross of Jesus, that is beneath God’s love and grace that reaches to us even from Calvary. Together we explore what it is to abide at the foot of the cross as we confess our sins and receive God’s forgiveness.


Throughout our weekly service in addition to listening and exploring scripture we also explore images from our weekly gathering hymn, ELW 338, Beneath the Cross of Jesus. The third verse from this hymn, includes the phrase: “I take, O cross, your shadow for my abiding place.” Our Lenten invitation is indeed to take the cross as our abiding place.

I look forward to exploring and experiencing what it to stand “beneath the cross of Jesus” as we continue this worship series at 7 pm Wednesdays: March 7th at St. John, March 14th at Salem, and March 21st at St. John. I also invite you to join me from 6 to 6:40 pm prior to our Wednesday services (come and go as you are able) to nourish your soul with time to dwell in scripture, prayer, and conversation. And, as always, please reach out for conversation at any time.

It is in that abiding place that we then hear Jesus’ words to us that we hear in worship on Maundy Thursday (John 13: 12-14 and 34-35 printed above). These words of Jesus humble us and convict us.

As we ponder these words together at the foot of the cross, let us rest there in grace and love eternal, and let us move forward living our faith as we love one another even as we proclaim the joy of Easter!

It’s no joke – Easter is on April 1st this year! I look forward to joyfully worshipping with you on Easter morning: 6:30 am St. John Easter Sunrise Service and 8:30 am Salem Easter Morning Worship Service.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Tami