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Pastor's Message - March 2024

~His Life Becomes Our Parable ~

“All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables;

indeed he said nothing to them without a parable.”

~Matthew 13:34


Dear Members and Friends,

There’s nothing quite like a good story. I find them impossible to resist. I had an elderly neighbor lady, many years ago, who would lie in wait each weekday, weather permitting, in an aluminum-frame lawn chair on the front stoop of our shared apartment building. She knew the city bus would drop me at about 5:50pm. I’d say, “Hi, Mrs. Buckles,” and try to hurry inside to change my clothes and start dinner. But it was no use. Mrs. Buckles would launch into her stories before I could get my key in the lock. They all began like this: “I was 16 years old when I left Wilburton, Oklahoma, for DE-troit, MISH-gin.” (She gave “Michigan” only two syllables, accent on the first.) “I was a housekeeper for Mr. Henry Ford.” Her stories were filled with pathos, drama, and tangled webs of treachery that only a servant in a wealthy household could know, not to mention dark family secrets. Imagine one of the servants on “Downton Abbey” telling their tales with an Oklahoma drawl. I could never resist the allure of a supposedly true story about a famous person’s life, however contrived or misremembered.

Stories are powerful. A good story holds a mirror up to our face and asks us what we see. It reveals things about our lives and our world that we never took the time to notice. In the seasons of Lent and Easter, we gather around the most urgent stories at the heart of the Christian faith: the last week of Jesus’s earthly life, his betrayal, arrest, and passion, the first days of his risen life, the resurrection appearances through the eyes of his friends. In all these ancient narratives, we see Jesus as a mystic, a healer, a teacher, a prophet, a reformer, and a martyr. Jesus was, and is, a human life in which the divine life shines. He was also quite the storyteller.

Jesus’s stories speak of simple, familiar things like lost coins and stray animals. His stories have unexpected heroes and outcomes. They’re always deeper than they first appear. We speak about “the parables of Jesus,” but what about “The Jesus Parable”? In some sense, the life of Jesus itself is a parable, a model story, that tells us how God works in the life of anyone who will follow after Christ. Consider it: Jesus experienced a call at the waters of the Jordan; he changed courses and threw his life into the risky things that mattered most in his time and place; he suffered for choosing the hard but better path; he experienced betrayal, loss, and death to an old self; on the other side of suffering and shame, he was brought to a place of new life. Jesus is the teller of parables, whose life itself becomes our parable for awakening to the life of the spirit, throwing ourselves into the needs of the world, suffering, and rising on the other side of pain. And then? Then repeat the process. Not only is Jesus a master storyteller, he is our story; his experience is a model for our own.

Please see inside this March edition for details about our special Lenten activities and services. Make special note of events on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and of course Easter Day. The stories are familiar, and you’ve heard them all before. But you are not the same as you were before, and they have power to speak to you in new ways today. Stories are transformative. They’re a mirror and a summons. Let’s make this journey to Easter together.

Christ’s Peace,




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