April hasn’t exactly felt like April, has it? Mercifully, the weather feels it’s finally taking a turn towards spring.
On April 15th, Faith Lutheran and many other Twin Cities churches either canceled or had worship with very few people venturing out in the middle of the snowstorm. It was the first time since 1968 that Faith had canceled a Sunday morning service!
I appreciated the support of other colleagues in this area as we discussed whether or not to hold services. Hearing stories about neighbors helping shovel out their neighbors and taking care of each other on Sunday morning, when many would’ve been at church, is an example of how God is with us wherever we are.
Fortunately, the weather at the beginning of the month didn’t wipe out an important festival Sunday in the church.
On April Fool’s Day, the Christian church celebrated Easter. The last time Easter fell on April Fool’s Day was a long time ago: 1956!
The Resurrection is no joke — it’s what Christians around the world recognize as the event giving us new life, a sign that God’s love has prepared a place in heaven and that we are beloved and our sins are forgiven.
What does God call us to do with this gift? Share God’s love with the world.
How do we serve our neighbors? How do we live beyond ourselves to make a difference in the world?
I continue to see how many people in Forest Lake and the surrounding area truly care about one another — that you are invested in the lives of your neighbors! The high school students in the Faith Lutheran Youth Group told me how sad they were that prom was canceled, but that the whole community had gone the extra mile to try to make it happen!
“I think it was great how everyone tried to pitch in in some way,” said Forest Lake High School Jr. Abby Barsness, who was at the school taking pictures when the word came that the prom was canceled because the plows were being pulled off the streets.
“We all appreciated the amount of support we got and how much they cared about us and our prom,” Barsness said.
While the prom being canceled was not ideal, the safety of the students was the top priority.
Sometimes, serving others is a matter of life and death.
One of the members of Faith Lutheran that knows this first-hand is Scott Erickson, who grew up in Forest Lake. Resurrection is a lived experience for him, as he’s had two kidney transplants after beginning the painful journey of kidney failure 20 years ago.
The process required many hospitalizations and a lot of community support from all corners of Forest Lake to keep him going.
Today, he celebrates that he’s alive.
I asked him how he approaches life, knowing that without these two kidneys, he might not be around to raise his daughter, Gracie.
“Don’t take life for granted,” said Erickson. “Love and respect the little things.”
I asked him how the promise of resurrection has changed his perspective on life.
“To me, I look at Easter completely different than I did 20 years ago,” said Erickson. “I’m very grateful for what I have: God, science, and my daughter Gracie. Without those three, it would make it a lot tougher to get up in the morning.”
Next week, the calendar finally flips to May. New life, new growth, and finally, the disappearance of all of this snow. I’m grateful to hear these incredible stories of life and how a community rallies around each other.
Your care for each other is inspiring — that’s no joke.