Pastor’s Letter-April 13, 2018

In his book Strength for the Journey, theologian Peter Gomes said, “The greatest argument for the validity of the Christian life is the life of a Christian: we are the arguments for the resurrection; we are the living roots for the existence of God.” It’s the Easter season, and we’re thinking again what it means to be a “resurrection people.” It’s a wonder-filled and descriptive phrase, and it’s a bit of a puzzle. If we are a “resurrection people,” who are we, really?

In practical terms—for each of us in our daily lives—resurrection is a sort of injection of new life, a new vitality. We know this is true, but what does it look like, sound like, and feel like?

Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker gives us a hint in the online magazine Whosoever: “By ‘resurrection’ I mean transcendence from worshiping the many idols that this world offers us and that separate us from the knowledge that God has given each of his children a work to do.” The resurrection stories in the Bible are specific, saying that resurrection is present with us in a real, tangible way— we can see it, hear it, feel it and even taste it.

This Sunday’s reading, Luke 24:36b-48, talks about Jesus appearing to the disciples and having some broiled fish with them. If our resurrection is one we see, hear, feel, and taste daily, we can use a little of that right now. Life easily gets away from us because we have so many daily, urgent concerns. We have to be somewhere, and we’re in a rush to get ready. We have a project we have to finish, and we can’t sleep until it’s done. Our child is sick needs to go to the doctor. We have bills to pay and not enough money to pay them. Someone we care deeply about is having a rough time.

Put simply, we have lots to do, and even more to think about doing. And if we ever get finished, we may have a list of all-purpose worries to get started on. In this Easter season, devoting a few minutes each day to reflective thought, prayer, and study can guide us back to the daily peace filled reality of the resurrection. The more we listen with our hearts, the better our world becomes. And the more realized is God’s vision.

Last Sunday many of us watched an interesting presentation about the history of the Clairemont area, thanks to long-time St. Mark’s member Jack Carpenter. We saw that St. Mark’s is an integral part of that history, and we talked about what might be ahead for our area and for the church. I believe the best days of St. Marks are ahead, and that we are extraordinarily blessed and well-equipped to strengthen our leadership role in the years to come. It will take vision, courage, and hard work, but it will also be a joyful time of living as a “resurrection people.”

With this in mind, I have proposed that we undertake a significant one- or two-year project to start something big and new for St. Mark’s to reach people we are not currently reaching, with the ultimate goal of growing participation and attendance. The one- or two-year period would involve the appointment of an additional ordained minister whose sole charge would be to start something new—to research and become familiar with our community and then create a worship or ministry experience that will meet its changing preferences.

Finance and Foundation committees are discussing the funding for this project, and a proposal will be introduced at the Church Conference on Tuesday, April 17 at 7PM in the Social Hall. All are invited, and all members of the church can vote on the proposal. See you in church!