Sunday, April 21, 2019


It’s all about Easter. Sure, because of the immense materialism of western culture, Christmas carries a heavy weight. Christmas, celebration of the birth of Jesus, came about as a Christian celebration to counter the cultural pagan celebration. But...

Easter has always been the highest celebration of Christian faith. So, on this day of Easter, we proclaim that Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. And we greet each other with Happy Easter! Of course, we do. What brings more joy and happiness than the truth of the resurrection. God brings life even out of death.

Happy Easter! Jesus who was dead is alive. And, in worship wherever we are, in church, or in the world outside, Jesus is here. He is not longer subject to the same bounds of existence that human beings are. He is...He is here.

But, as we worship on this day there is much not to be happy about. Our happiness is tempered by the awful political/social divisions of our world and culture. Every day we yell at each other that we are right and you are wrong. Our hearts are broken. And, we allow, unfortunately, votes and debates and all the rest to decide whether we will find joy or not. The world is not as we would want it to be, not yet. Still, Happy Easter!

The church is inflicted by the same divisions and pain of the world around us. We are human and we cannot help but be drawn into these terrible divisions. We think that the ultimate power is in issues. And, even in the church, we are mean to each other. We look too hard for ways to exclude rather than include others in our great fellowship. Who are we to say who belongs to Jesus when the Holy Spirit has fallen on them? And yet, the church is not what we want it to be, not yet. Still, Happy Easter!

I don’t know about you but I am not the person I want to be, not yet. My family is not the family I want it to be, not yet. Our sin and pain drag us down and cause us to inflict pain on those we don’t understand. Still, Happy Easter!

The world, the church, and you and I, are not what we want them to be, or what God wants us to be, not yet. We cannot fully believe in resurrection, not because we cannot believe, but because we believe more in the power of death. Death reigns or so it appears. But, not really, Easter means that Christ reigns. All power belongs to him and his love and grace are still with us as we are. Easter means that all death will be overcome and transformed. Easter means that the great victory of God’s love over evil has already happened.

For me, Easter means that God is still moving here, that God is not done yet. God is moving us toward the Kingdom of God or as much of the Kingdom of God as we can absorb. Happy Easter? Not Yet? NO.

Happy Easter! No question mark. No hesitation. For the power and the glory and the love of God are the true power of the world. And, nothing will stop this love and life, ever. The love of God wins, now and forever. Amen.

Dave Nichols

Friday, April 5, 2019


Someone once said that all people pray. I believe that. Everyone prays. Sure, maybe there are a few confirmed atheists who don’t pray. But, I would bet that in hard times, even Atheists meditate and comtemplate and...

Almost everybody prays. And, for most of us, prayer is that steady daily time of connection with God that keeps us going. If I started the day and things got away from me, I would sometimes miss my prayer time. Usually, at the end of the day, I would remember that. I always responded to the day and others better when I pray.

Even secularists are teaching others to spend some time in thought, meditation, reflection. They recommend that every person start the day with a few moments of silence.

We pray not to change God, but to change ourselves, to bring ourselves into that connection that saves us and makes us whole.

Jesus prayed. It’s one of the things about him that the disciples noticed most. Before Jesus gave us the Lord’s pray, Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them how to pray.

A noted preacher said: “We spend a lot of time asking Jesus to answer our prayers, but we don’t spend as much time trying to answer his prayers.” What if being a Christian, a follower of Jesus, means that I try to live my life as an answer to Jesus’ prayers.

One of Jesus’ great prayers is recorded in John 17. He prayed: “Lord, I do not ask you to take them out of the world...”. Then, why do we spend to much time trying to get out of the world. If God loved the world so much, then God still loves the world. Jesus prayed for us to stay and live out our faith in the world, in this world. Here and now.

Earlier in John’s Gospel Jesus says: “They will know you are my disciples by your love.” Stay in the world and love. Doesn’t sound that hard, right? No, in fact, it sounds very hard. And yet, nothing is more meaningful than the love of God. The love of God is the answer to everything; that’s why we call it salvation.

My blue grass group sings an old Dolly Partin number. The words say: When we’re gone, long gone, the only thing that will have mattered is the love that we shared and the way that we cared, when we’re gone, long gone.”

So, this Lent and beyond are you living your life as if you are an answer to the prayers of Jesus?

Dave Nichols

Comments on Lectionary - Sept. 1

That Jesus would be healing comes at no surprise to any of us. Nor, is it surprising that Jesus is healing on the Sabbath. So, when the re...