News and Upcoming Events
· Friday, April 19, 7:30pm: Holy Friday Service of Tenebrae – A meditative service of songs and readings, remembering the last day of Jesus’ life.
· Sunday, April 21: Happy Easter!! Worship at 10am. Bring a cut flower or two for our Transformation of the Cross! (But we’ll have spares…) Children are invited to an Easter Egg Hunt hosted by Kathryn Kadletz and Jordan Carey after the worship service.
· Sunday, April 28: Worship at 10 am. Guest preacher Rev. Bil Aulenbach. Topic: “Jesus Changed the World with Eleven.” Scripture: John 20:19-31. Bil is a retired Episcopal priest who served in Hawaii. He has been a member of Irvine UCC for 11 years and married to Anne for 59 years. He is an author, blogger, and social justice firebrand. More info on his website: www.peacelovejoyhope.com/.
· Sunday, May 5: First Food Sunday. Every first Sunday we bring nonperishable food for A.C.T. food shelf in Brea. Cinco De Mayo Potluck! Bring your favorite Mexican dish or something colorful. Q & A on HR763, “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.”
· Sunday, May 19: Brief Congregational Meeting after worship to vote on whether to join some other UCC church in a resolution supporting HR763.
· Tai Chi Thursdays at 6:30pm in the Sanctuary. Check with Karen Hill which Thursdays. Next date: April 25th.
· Bible Study is on Thursdays at 2-3pm. Join us in the pastor’s office; you are always welcome. We are studying the Gospel of John. Lively discussion about what scripture means to us today. No homework!
· Choir practice Thursdays at 7:30pm. Like to sing but not sure you’re ready for prime time? Jessica Cosley is a fabulous teacher and our choir is a great place to grow musically. Join us!
Resurrecting Hope: An Easter Message
Rev. John Dorhauer, UCC President and General Minister
I walk through the world, opening myself up to the daily vagaries of life’s unanticipated joys and sorrows. I find myself grateful for a faith that orients itself around one foundational belief: resurrection.
Death did not destroy Jesus. That is my grounding fundament. Like every disciple of the risen Christ, I hear and take to heart the words of Paul who wrote that because of Him “we do not grieve as others who have no hope.” (I Thess. 4.13).
To be sure, we grieve. We worry. We fear. We grow anxious.
We are not immune from any of these powerful and life-altering emotions. In the face of what life can throw our way, we too will succumb to experiences that mitigate our joy. Death, disease, hunger, poverty, injustice, fear, warfare, oppression, famine, natural disaster, climate disruption, political crisis, mass shootings all have their way with us.
They consume our attention. They steal our joy. They strip us of some of the happiness and pleasure that would otherwise be ours but for the sufferings we endure in their presence and aftermath.
There is one thing, though, they cannot do: destroy our hope. The simple belief that death did not contain Jesus grounds us firmly in the horizons of hope. It is perhaps the singular vocational responsibility of the Church, the Living Body of Christ: to procure hope in the face of life’s most disruptive and destructive forces.
Hope calls us to play the long game. The long game of hope believes that the wars in Yemen and Syria can end. The long game of hope believes that peace between Israel and Palestine can come. The long game of hope believes that our children and grandchildren will again breathe clean air. The long game of hope believes that the immigrant and the refugee, the strangers and aliens in our midst, will find a new home and be greeted with hospitality and freed from the cages they’ve been placed in. The long game of hope believes that entire cities in Zimbabwe and Mozambique and farms in the Midwest destroyed by floods can be rebuilt.
The long game of hope believes that colonial empires can see more joy in restoring equity through reparations than in hoarding wealth accumulated on the backs of enslaved black bodies and displaced indigenous communities. The long game does not see death as our destiny. It believes that though suffering may endure for the night, joy cometh in the morning. Some new dawns may not arrive as early as others, but we do not lose hope that new dawns are ever before us. This is where my Easter joy is found: the orientation of hope. It is found in the beating heart of every disciple of Jesus who, once again, will rehearse the remarkable story of his rising from the dead. The miracle of hope in the heart is my Easter joy.
May it be yours as well.