Tag Archives: death

baby update

Sara, my wife, is pregnant and due June 4. The month of May will move us into the “any day now” zone. And that means uncertainty–for my family and for All Saints too!

Here’s what we do not know:

  • When the baby will come.
  • Whether the baby is male or female.
  • Whether mom and dad will settle on a boy-name before baby comes or after.

Here’s what we do know:

  • Sara and baby are healthy. This is already a squirmy kid. And we expect a normal delivery at Genesis East.
  • Council has granted and I will take two weeks of paternity leave, to start when the baby comes. I’m right now confirming pastors who will be prepared to preach and preside the two Sundays I am gone.
  • We’ve done this before: Sara and I and also All Saints.
  • When my leave ends and I return to All Saints, Sara, Susannah, and baby will come too. The whole family will worship at All Saints, until Sara’s 10ish weeks of leave ends, anyway.

Change is tough. People don’t resist change. People resist loss. Something is lost even when it’s “joyful” change.

In the immortal words of the 90s band, Semisonic, “Every new beginning is some other beginning’s end.” Even joyful beginnings–like a birth–mark the end of something else–like a decent night’s sleep, or, for Susannah, her parents’ (mostly) undivided attention.

Perhaps surprisingly, endings and new beginnings are never two-step processes.  It’s always three steps.

  1. ending
  2. transition
  3. new beginning

Or in biblical terms,

  1. leaving Egypt
  2. journeying through the wilderness
  3. making a new home in the promised land

Endings means grief. Transitions mean chaos, newness, stress. All of this is true, even when the new beginning is joyful.

I’m saying this to remind myself. I wonder, What will come to an end for me? I don’t know yet. But I intend to be gracious with myself and everyone around me.

I also share this for your sake. The bible is full of stories of change. Change is neutral. Some changes are initiated by God, some by humans, some by circumstance. But the constant–the truth we know through faith that surpasses any information we know (or don’t know) by other means–is…

God is with us.

God speaks to us through change. God heals us through change. God makes us new through change. That is what God always does. But do not be afraid: God also does it when life as we know it comes to an end.

Thanks and peace, PC

Easter theme: “The Way has been paved…”

At first, Christians did not call themselves “Christian.”

Instead the people sent “to the ends of the earth” by the resurrected Jesus (Acts 1:8) called themselves “followers of the Way” (Acts 9:2).

Everyone else had less flattering names for them, like, “these people who have been turning the world upside down”—with their surprising boldness telling stories about Jesus and baptizing and doing other things that were miraculous but bad for business (Acts 17:6).

“The Way has been paved…” is All Saints’ worship theme this season of Easter. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are our example to follow. And even more, Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is a gift for us and all the world.

Because we do not have to earn love—from God or anyone else—therefore, we can turn our lives to new ends, toward serving God and others.

Because we need not fear death—either divine condemnation or human humiliation—therefore, we get to live wholeheartedly, abundantly, eternally: beginning (or beginning again) today.

Because Truth seeks us (and not the other way around), therefore, we may live confidently belonging to God and within the body of Christ, even while we doubt and disbelieve.

The Way has been paved…

sermon: “the light a death shed”

Good Friday
Isaiah 52:13—53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 10:16–25; John 18:1—19:42
Pastor Clark Olson-Smith

Jesus died for us, revealing how valuable we are and what is worth living and dying for.

Listen to Pastor Clark’s sermon. Thanks to Matt Reece for uploading.