550 North Broad Street Canfield, Ohio 44406 • 330-533-3531

Pastor's Letter April 2015

Greetings!

As I write this article, I am watching the NCAA tournament game between Kentucky and Notre Dame. By the time you read this, we will know the result. But at this point, Notre Dame is impressively keeping up with undefeated Kentucky. There is a reason why they call the NCAA basketball tournament “March Madness.”

Although the teams are ranked based on how they perform in the regular season, once the tournament starts, all of that may as well be forgotten. There are always stories of highly-ranked teams getting knocked out by lower-ranked teams. There are always close games regardless of the rankings. In the NCAA basketball tournament, anything can happen. For those who watch the tournament every year, we “have faith” in the “madness” of the series. We expect it, and are disappointed when the top-ranked teams cruise on through without a challenge.

Two years ago in my Easter Vigil message, I made reference to “God Madness.” Weird, right? My point was that we have story after story in the Scriptures of God acting in unexpected ways. We have the opportunity to hear some of those stories at Easter Vigil. And of course, there was the most unexpected act of Jesus dying on the cross, yet rising from the grave.

Despite the fact that these stories of God are the fabric of our faith, I’ve noticed a tendency among many of us Christians to not expect the unexpected from God anymore. Instead, we get stuck in a business-as-usual rut, unwilling to imagine that God can make a difference in our lives, in our communities and in the world. We often refuse to embrace change that may make all the difference, are unwilling to engage in something that is a little uncomfortable yet might lead to growth, allow mistrust and fear to rule us rather than listen for God’s leading.

But the resurrection reminds us to forget our expectations, forget our limitations.

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