First UMC Gonzales

Pastor's Note
From the desk of Rev. Steve Berger, Senior Pastor

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Easter- Surprise Endings

Many children will experience a happy surprise this Easter Sunday with goodies left for them by the Easter Bunny. The colors, smells and tastes of bright candy and toys brings a delight to many young lives on this happy morning. As adults we can be less than thrilled with the "surprises" in our lives, like unexpected bills, taxes, diagnoses and bad office memos. However, we still like the thrill of an unexpected gift or thoughtful gesture. We even like to read or watch books and movies that have an unexpected twist in the plot or a surprise ending. When all seems lost and the hero of the story looks like they are finished and all hope is gone, it is a thrill to see them roar back and bring hope and help to their fellow supporters in the story. Many older stories follow that plot line and more recent ones like "Star Wars", "Harry Potter", "The Hunger Games" and the "Avenger" series continue it. However, what we celebrate on Easter is not just a plot twist by a clever screen writer playing on our need for resolved conflicts. We believe that the core of the Christian faith is this account of God's Son, Jesus of Nazareth, willingly giving himself over to the fears, retribution, anger and suspicions of weak and fickle humans in order to conquer death and sin. This is not just another "good guy done in by the evil system" plot – but it is a picture of God showing the world the extent of his love by self-sacrifice by a horrific execution. Then, on Sunday morning, bursting forth in victory over the grave and showing, to even those who hurt him, that God loves and provides for them. What a plot twist! The same Jesus, who with a blood-streaked face calmly told the Roman Governor Pilate, "You have no authority given over me unless it was given from above", walked out of the grave three days later! So, we celebrate his victory and now our victory over those forces and threats that would control and try to destroy us. What a day to celebrate God's surprise ending to his story of love for each of us!

Happy Easter,
Pastor Steve