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Friday, 31 March 2017 15:08

Writing By Faith: Remembering Who We Are

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I recently sat with two older men who have called the Key Peninsula home for many decades.

It was a privilege to hear their stories of days long past. They spoke of life before there were bridges and highways, neighborhoods and grocery stores. They remembered pioneers now buried in the Lakebay cemetery.

They remembered names that mark the roads out here, friends long dead, and hidden hollows in the woods lost to developers and progress. In hearing their tales, I was ushered into the history of this place we all call home.

It is good to remember stories that tell us where we’ve come from and who we are. Sometimes it’s so easy to get overwhelmed in the rush of the present that we lose track of the sweep of history around us. We can lose our sense of rootedness and the identity it gives us as we live in this particular time and place.

On a Wednesday in March, you may have noticed men and women walking around with crosses marked in ashes on their foreheads. You might have seen signs popping up advertising special church services for Ash Wednesday and Lent.

In this paper, you’ll find an ad for events related to Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday Tenebraes and Easter sunrise services. To many people, these are strange words and odd practices. This ancient religious language can seem out of place in our modern world.

Christians use these words and the events they describe to help us remember who we are, where we’ve come from and where we’re going. These ancient stories remind us of a love stronger than death and a passion more powerful than the grave.

In Lent, we are reminded of this truth that we are made of dust and it is to dust that we all return. Many people fast, recognizing harmful patterns in their lives and making changes toward simpler and healthier living.

During Holy Week, we remember and celebrate the great example of nonviolent sacrificial love demonstrated by Jesus, the humble servant killed for daring to challenge a corrupt religious and political system. We retell his famous words, spoken during the Last Supper, that “greater love has no man, than to lay down his life for his friends.”

On Easter morning, we gather and retell stories of death giving way to life, of renewal and rebirth, of hope renewed and restored. The earliest Christians declared “Christ is risen!” and so do we, as we stand around bonfires on cold, windy beaches, waiting for the sun to rise.

These are strange words in our modern world, but it is good to remember them. These words and actions define who we are, where we’ve come from and where we’re going. They connect us to the early church, and they renew hope for a future in which life conquers death.

The KP Ministerial Association wishes you all a hopeful and joyous Easter season. As winter gives way to spring, may you remember the story that marks your own life.

Dan Whitmarsh is pastor at Lakebay Community Church.

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