Copyright 2017. St. James Lutheran Church of Stewart Manor. All rights reserved.

Dear Friends in Christ:

Easter is a season of seven Sundays. We are half-way through the season. We began with texts recounting Jesus’ Easter appearances to his disciples. Last Sunday was Good Shepherd Sunday. This week we have the great Vine metaphor. Next week is Love and the following week is Church Unity. Which puts us to Pentecost on May 20.  The progression is from Easter as an event, i.e. What happened to Jesus, to Easter as a journey on which Jesus leads us: through this life, into death, and out the other side.

The ultimate goal of Easter is the world to come. Paul sometimes refers to as the New Creation.  In John’s Gospel it is Eternal Life. Acts 3 calls it the Recapitulation of All Things. Jesus teaches it as the Reign of God.

The end of the journey determines the ways and means of the journey. As we discover that corruption and death are not the final destination of our lives, we begin to be free to live each day creatively. We no longer need to cling to the earthly things that proffer happiness, meaning, fulfillment, and security. In the end they cannot deliver anyway. We are free to bear fruit, love and forgive without worrying about what it might cost and whether there is enough in our shrinking worlds to go around. We are free to serve God.

If you assess your life from a this world perspective, your future is always getting smaller. There is less of it today than there was yesterday. There will be even less tomorrow.  Eventually it runs out altogether. If you assess your life under the aspect of the eternity Christ has promised to share with you, your future never gets smaller. It is open ended—an inexhaustible venue of faithfulness to God and love for God’s creation.

I am constantly amazed by my congregation in the nursing home and how much hope fills their lives. Apparently the gospel of Jesus Christ has prevented them from getting the memo that they have no hope. They understand with Paul that “our  citizenship is in heaven and from it we expect a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.(Phil 3:20).” We follow the Lord in the hope that even though Friday seems ever so permanent, Sunday is coming.

Yours in Christ,

John Shepherd McKenzie


of Stewart Manor

St. James Lutheran Church of Stewart Manor | 116 Elton Road, Stewart Manor, NY 11530 | 516-352-4099

A Seasonal Message from Pastor John