Across the Pastor’s Desk: Finding hope as the leaves fall
Published 8:00 pm Friday, October 20, 2023
Across the Pastor’s Desk by Josh Enderson
We see signs of autumn all around us. The leaves are falling. Flowers and gardens are being cleared out. Things are preparing for their winter rest. I know some who love winter, and if you live in Minnesota you have to appreciate the change of seasons. But the losses we experience in autumn can always take some getting used to. We know what’s coming. We know that the barrenness of winter is on its way.
But we also know that it doesn’t last forever, and that the rest of winter is good for the world around us. The land needs to rest, the seeds need to wait in the darkness so that they can rise again in spring’s glory. The changing of the seasons is an example of death and resurrection, something we as people of faith recognize. God is always bringing life from death, and faith calls on us to hold on to hope in God’s promises of life.
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In the year 1666, the Great Fire tore through the city of London, destroying much of central London. One building that was destroyed was the city’s iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral. As the city worked to rebuild, the cathedral became a focus of the city’s hope. It’s architect, Christopher Wren, planned a large dome that would remind the city that, even from the ashes, life and faith rise again.
During the building process, he asked workers to find something in the rubble that could be incorporated into the building, a reminder of where they had come from and what this new cathedral was all about. One man found an old gravestone with the image of a phoenix on it and the Latin word “Resurgam,” meaning “I will rise again.” This image and the word were incorporated into the building, reminding all who walked by of the power of faith, and that hope always rises from the ashes.
It is an image that goes back deep into our faith life. You can say that it is carved into the bones of our faith. It is the same message that the angels spoke to the women at the tomb, that the apostles went out proclaiming to the world and that we still proclaim today. Christ died for us on the cross, and when it seemed like death won, he rose again. Life rose again. Life and love won. That’s the same promise that we have too. Resurgam. I will rise again. We are resurrection people.
Josh Enderson is pastor of Hayward-Trondhjem Lutheran churches.