Trinity Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, NC
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As the grip of Old Man Winter begins to loosen, the warm breezes of spring are beginning to blow. The season of Lent is well coordinated with the end of winter and the arrival of spring in our part of the world, which offers us an important theological life lesson. Several times in his ministry Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for the inevitable. But whenever he tried to teach them about his rejection, suffering, and persecution that lay ahead, they either could not or would not accept it.

No one likes adversity or pain, and we are masters at avoiding and denying it. But in a free world where we have the ability to make choices, adverse consequences are bound to happen. And even though God has created us with minds capable of intelligent and healthy choices, we are generally slow learners of both scientific and moral truth. One inexorable universal truth is that very little of great value comes easily. We have to expend great effort in order to grow in faith, hope, wisdom, and love. Taking shortcuts and cutting corners does not make one healthy, wealthy, or wise.

So most of us by now have had our fill of winter weather and shorter days and are excited about the approaching warm weather and longer days. But even though we would like to leapfrog over winter from fall to spring, this is not possible in the kind of world God created. Just as the trees must lose their leaves in order to come back in the spring, so we must face and deal with the wintry aspects of human life. People change, relationships grow weak or fall apart, friends betray us, strangers attack us, hopes and dreams are dashed, and the good seem to die young. This is the way of the world. 

But this is not the last word. Jesus came along and offered hope in the midst of this chaos. He invited us to step into the Kingdom of God, a realm of love, joy, and a peace that passes all understanding. This is the good news of God’s unconditional love and amazing grace that helps us rise above the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and gives us a whole new way of life. 

Jesus used a powerful metaphor of this transformation in John’s Gospel. He said that “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” This is why Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to experience a spiritual rebirth in order to take up residency in God’s Kingdom. And this is why our baptism liturgy says that we die with Christ to the power of sin and death and are raised with Christ to a whole new life.

So as we struggle against the cold winter wind and the adversities of life, let us remember that both the love of God and the warm, sunny spring are both bright lights at the end of the tunnel. This is why we live by faith and not by sight! God’s promise to walk with us every step of the way through the dark valleys in life is true and can be relied upon without reservation. Thanks be to God! I hope you will be in worship on Sunday to hear me unpack Jesus’ amazing conversation with Nicodemus who sought him out at night for a second opinion.

Your friend in Christ,

Reply to David
You are invited to support Trinity's Preschool at lunch on Sunday, March 15th!

IF YOU KNIT (or are learning) and would like to join a group that donates their handmade goods, please speak with Beth Dixon. Her knitting group next meets on Saturday, March 21st in the church's Parlor from 10am to noon. Folks can come and knit on any project they want... and get help if they need it. This group has donated items to UNC Children's Cochlear Implant Center, Knitted Knockers for Wake Med Breast Services, Red Scarves for Foster Care to Success. Please come check them out! 
Although it's not a glamorous subject, we thank the Property Team for their upgrades to the men's restroom on the Sanctuary side. These long-needed improvements and repairs were made possible by the first Milner Gift distribution... and we are grateful!

Thank you for your food donations! We've given 3 more bags to families who need food since last week! We're a little low on a few items - if you have the chance, would you bring some packages of toilet paper, individual toothbrushes, toothpaste, and cereal, such as Cheerios, to the church office? Thank you for your support of the church's pantry ministry!

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