A Generous Spirit – Restored to Life through Serving Others

November 4, 2021
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. John’s,
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me….”  

The Gospels of Mark and Matthew describe Jesus crying out these words from the cross – the first words of Psalm 22.

Did God abandon Jesus? Has God abandoned us? As the intense words of lament in Psalm 22 continue, they transition into trusting words that God hears our cry.

Death isn’t about fairness or Divine abandonment; it is the entry to the fulfillment of our creation in the image and likeness of God. The book of Wisdom assures us that “the souls of the just are in the hands of God.”

After Psalm 22 comes Psalm 23 with familiar words of consolation about God’s eternal care for us as we endure our trials:

“The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul. He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.”

Our deepest human emotions are unpredictably stirred when we face the tragedy of death. We know not when, we know not how; when death takes a personal turn, its finality is jarring.

The son of God and of Mary experienced mourning, joy, suffering and death; he was one of us in every way except sinfulness! He came to heal us, to teach us about God’s love and fidelity, to show us the way to redemption and to open the gates of heaven. For this, our Savior was crucified as a criminal at a young age.

Then he proved God’s love and all he taught when he rose from the dead!

Throughout the month of November, we remember and pray for our beloved dead. May they rest in peace in God’s perpetual light.

As our time continues, we worship in gratitude for God’s mercy and the promises of Christ: we, the faithful, will be delivered from evil and will rise again on the last day to be with God and each other forever.  

We are 2 weeks away from renewing our commitment to living out our core values as a parish. Our video series will highlight three parish households that live out the core values and invite you to renew your commitment with them as we build up Christ’s kingdom in New Brighton and beyond. This week’s video highlights the Battaglia family, whose young daughter Braxton has battled with leukemia. With the support of Father Paul and St. John’s ministries, Braxton has been Restored to Life! Now, she lives cancer-free, and with her family, encourages others to turn to God in prayer and by surrendering to His plan for them, and thus be Restored to Life. The Battaglia family are disciples of Jesus and are committed to living out our core values. 

In Christ,
Father Doug Ebert
Senior Associate Pastor