Pastor's Letter - April
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose resurrection gives us new hope! Amen.
On Wednesday mornings, I typically drop Timmy off at my aunt's house in the morning so that I can go and take care of pastoral responsibilities. Lately, before I drive down to Valley View, I have begun to add something else to the ritual.
Instead of driving down Interstate 81, I continue on to the site of the former Schuylkill Mall. I drive up the ramp that, years ago, would take me to my first job. I continue to the parking lot where, years ago, I would park my car to hang out with friends or see a movie. I look and see the progress of the demolition of the building where I spent Scout Nights with my troop growing up.
I guess I'm curious, but I also remember the hundreds of jobs, the stores that used to be, but more than anything, the community hub that was this place. As of the time I am writing this, the mall is probably 75% of the way to being completely scrubbed from the face of the earth.
Toys R Us just recently announced they will be closing all of their stories. I think of parents who had just set up registries at Babies R Us (same company, so they'll be going, too) and I think of parents who used to make that a special trip for their kids.
So many things seem to be dying....
Meanwhile, we are still here, living.
Death is a part of life. We have all lost people close to us who are more important than any building or department store. We think of those who have gone before us, and this year at Trinity, we've already lost three of our sisters in Christ.
But for our faith, death is part of a cycle, and part of that cycle involves resurrection. We believe that we are resurrected because Jesus destroyed the power of death on Easter Sunday. We also look at our culture, and see that as things are dying, as things are phasing out, new things come into their place.
Sometimes we negatively judge those new things because they remind us of change and because we have sentimental attachments. *Insert thing you love here* isn't what it used to be!
I remember years ago in Frackville that there was a delicious bakery not far from my house, the New York Bakery. It closed for the first time when I was probably around 12 or 13 years old. In the time since, it has reopened and closed a few more times. The first time this happened, I remember sitting in the Dutch Kitchen, listening to a few of my fellow locals talking about it. One man exclaimed, "I'm sure something will come in its place, but whatever it is, it won't be good!"
"Whatever it is, it won't be good?"
Our faith speaks to resurrection. Things are coming, and with God's help, they can be good.
It's not just our commerce centers in this world. We can all point to past times in our congregations around our communities and see how they seemingly were more vibrant. They certainly had more people. But that doesn't mean that what comes after isn't good. We look for resurrection in our faith communities as well.
We are Easter people. Therefore, let us look forward with hope!
See you along the way,