Dear Friends and Members of Shepherd of the Hills,


This world is beautiful and glorious, full of joy and delight.  This world is dark and grotesque, full of hate and suffering.  How can both these statements be true?  I believe that both these statements are true and it’s not just a matter of perspective.  This is a belief we hold as faithful Christian people. Both of these realities are true simultaneously.  


The joys and wonders of our world come to us because of God’s creative goodness.  He is the author of all of creation and some of that creation you and I experience still bear the reflection of that goodness.  Yet, we live in a fallen world, a world marked by sin and chaos.  Therefore creation also simultaneously reveals this fallenness.


People in our world can be kind and compassionate, sharing in the joy and delights of this creation.  Faithful Christians and non-Christians, from a very human perspective, contribute to the good in our world. Faithful Christians and non-Christians also contribute to the hate and suffering we experience in this life.  


From a very human perspective we hold both realities to be true about our world.  But this does not bring hope.  If this alone was true, the best we could do is resign ourselves to ‘fate’ and work to make this life as joyous as possible and try to minimize the suffering.  YUCK!


As faithful Christian people we are given a much more concrete hope.  A hope for a redeemed creation and a redeemed humanity.  The focus of that hope is the Resurrection of Jesus.  Now the joy and delight we experience with creation and one another is just a foretaste of the feast that is to come.  These moments become for us a chance to reflect and give thanks to God for the blessings in life we receive, but also not putting our hope in these moments or blessings.  We see them for what they are…a gift.  


This also means that the dark, grotesque, hatefulness and suffering of the world is not only to be expected, because this is why Jesus came to live, suffer, die and rise, but is also temporary.  Hurt, heartache, pain, illness, suffering and death are all terrible.  God is good.  Jesus is fixing it. Jesus has risen from the dead and has defeated all sin, death and the devil.  His resurrection means a time is coming when darkness will be no more for those who trust in him.  


The world being beautiful and dark simultaneously are realities that we describe, not fates we are tied to.  The Lord, through his salvation story remembered and celebrated this Easter season, has given us a greater hope.  We, by faith, are certain that all things will be made new and until then the very real presence of the Lord Jesus abides with us until his return or our call home.  May the Lord sustain you in this life with the faith to trust such things.  


In His Love and Service,

Pastor Rust