January 1, 2017

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! This is a new year with new possibilities and God active in it all. Blessings and peace be with you all!

The Gospel story for this Sunday is the "slaughter of the innocents," when King Herod in his attempt to protect his political power, has all the children under 2 years old in and around Bethlehem killed. He was attempting to kill off the "child who has been born king of the Jews" (Matthew 1:2a) that the wise men told him about. See the whole story below, it is not a pleasant story.

We tend to forget that the Bible has stories about real life which include terror and tragedy. We've heard the story about Jesus crucifixion so often we forget how terrible it really was. Yes, it ends in resurrection, but until then it is a horrible story.

This terrible story about innocent children being slaughtered is hard to hear. Yet it is important to hear because it is about the need for God's grace, love, and forgiveness in a very real world. Jesus was born into this world. Our world. And terrible things like this happen every day, every hour, every minute. Our need for the changing power of God's love and grace as we know it in Jesus is real, in this real world.

So, what are we going to do? Live Grace, Live Forgiveness, Live Love, as best you are able, as best you can and transform the world, make God real. Happy New Year! This is a new year with new possibilities and God active in it all. Blessings and peace be with you all!

See you in Church,

Interim Pastor Craig Storlie