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Evalgelical Lutheran Church in America Northeastern Ohio Synod
Letters from Pastor Alan Smearsoll

              
April 2021

As I write this article, I have begun to notice signs of spring popping up out of the ground. The flower bulbs that have been buried under the cold soil of fall and winter are beginning to sprout green shoots that will soon be beautiful daffodils and tulips. When I was doing some cleaning of winter debris of pinecones and twigs that had fallen over the course of winter in preparation for what will soon become the mowing season, I noticed the crocus flowers blooming in front of the house. What a wonderful sight! I recall the words of Jesus “as soon as its [the fig tree’s] branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.” As soon as you see the green shoots of the flowers climbing out of the earth, you know that spring is near!

One year ago everything shut down around us. We were told to stay home. Like a flower bulb hidden underground, we were confined, hidden by the four walls of our houses. No one knew what to expect in the coming days and months. As time went on, a ray of sunshine brought some warmth to our hearts as we could return to limited activity. The green shoot was popping out of the ground but not about to blossom.

Today, God, the great gardener, is providing those green shoots a boost of fertilizer for growth (vaccines) that are gradually awakening the beauty of the flower inside. We see an end to this long, long Covid winter! New life emerges slowly and steadily.

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24  What “fruit” will you bear coming out of the pandemic? How has God used this time “in the cold, dark earth” to bring you to blossom as a flower of spring? The darkness of our isolation has been cursed by many, but God takes what is “cursed” and makes it a blessing. 

The Easter exclamation, “He is risen! He is risen indeed!” only comes because that which was dead and buried is alive and the curse of the cold, dark tomb has become the blessing of the resurrection! What seemed hopeless and unforgiving has now died with Christ and new life springs forth with his resurrection! Like the first flowers of spring, it is beautiful to behold that which Jesus has saved – you!

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

A Blessed Easter everyone!
Pastor Alan

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