With the death of Jesus, his friends and followers were overcome with sadness and disappointment. His death was the end of their hopes and dreams that he would be the one to redeem them. But then…..the unexpected and miraculous happens….Jesus is raised from the dead! Suddenly the world is turned upside down. With resurrection comes a new beginning.

Such is the pattern of our lives as Christians. With every ending we face—the end of a dream, a relationship, a job, life itself—we never lose hope, knowing that God has a new beginning in store for us. In baptism we are joined with Christ in his death and resurrection. Whatever loss we encounter, we keep looking forward with faith to the new thing God is doing.

This month we recognize two endings for our high school youth. Sunday May 18th marks the end of two years of Confirmation instruction for the four students who are affirming their baptism in worship. This is the end of their formal adolescent faith formation in our church. Yet it is only the beginning of a new chapter of involvement in the faith community as they commit to life-long learning and serving in the body of Christ. We are happy that Bishop Guy Erwin of our Southwest California Synod will be with us during worship on Confirmation Sunday and I hope you will be with us too!

On Sunday May 25th we will honor those who are completing their high school years on Graduate Recognition Sunday. While this, too, is the end of one chapter, it is also the beginning of a new period of life and faith. Not only do we celebrate this accomplishment by our graduates, we bless them in the love and grace of family, congregation and God.

As we mark these milestones with our young people, it is a wonderful reminder to them of this faith-filled community that surrounds them in their new journeys. In addition, our regular weekly worship gives mutual encouragement to us all as we face the endings in our lives with hope and courage for the new beginnings we have in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Easter joy,

Pastor Gretchen Bingea