By Pastor Bill Schnackenberg, Centralia Unitied Methodist Church
This is a month of 70 holidays. May is also designated as the “Month of 15 different things,” some of which contradict each other. I didn’t know that until I looked it up on the internet. There are just a few of all these that I recognize, like Mother’s Day/Festival of the Christian Home and Memorial
Day. And that doesn’t include birthdays and anniversaries.
But there are other days that are important, too. They are graduation days. For Centralia High School, seniors will graduate on May 12, the same day as Mother’s Day, which should make all you moms out there very proud. The universities in our area also have graduations this month.
Graduation is a special time because it announces a new phase in the life of the one graduating. No longer will she/he experience the same routines of school. They are free to launch new lives.
I remember my high school graduation and the level of anxiety it produced because I didn’t know for sure what the next days would be like. Would it be all work? Or play? Or would there be military service or perhaps college or technical school? All those things were tossing around in my head and my gut.
Times of significant change have a tendency to cause those anxious, sometimes fearful feelings.
Our churches, our communities, our world are in those times of significant change. No longer do we prepare only for nuclear war, or tornadoes, or floods, or fire. Now we have intruder drills at all the schools and have to be aware of the potential for bombs wherever we are. Our world has changed significantly. The media ensure we are informed of the world’s chaos.
So how are we to cope? What can we do?
I recommend one thing in particular, the same thing that got our parents, grandparents, ancestors through all the different turmoil and changes they experienced. They relied on their faith.
Jesus says he will share our burdens and walk with us. He didn’t say he would eliminate the threats or the changes. But it is the assurance that our Lord is present with us that carries us through. The early apostles endured many hardships – many of them different than what we endure. The one thing that kept them going all through their lives was faith – the understanding that God was with them, walking with them, guiding them, comforting them, encouraging them, and inspiring them.
It’s impossible to explain the resurrection Jesus empirically, but through the eyes of faith, we now can see the hope that is waiting for the world. And we can demonstrate the power of God through our love and service to one another and to all those less fortunate than ourselves.
May is a month to celebrate change. It is a month to celebrate faith and hope and new life.
Pastor Bill Schnackenberg