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Written by Gradye Parsons

Each month the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Moderator or Vice Moderator of the 220th General Assembly write a column of general interest for the church-at-large.

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April 1, 2015

April 2015 - The big great surprise

Well it seemed impossible even on March 22nd, but it does appear that Spring may arrive after all. Back in Tennessee we could still have a succession of mini-winters, but we soften the blow by giving them names like redbud winter or blackberry winter. In South Carolina, my son-in-law has already mowed his yard. In Chicago they still have their snow shovels working. We are in the same season but not in the same way.

This could be an apt metaphor for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). We are in the same season of our church life but not in the same way. Some people are very happy, some are not, and some are otherwise occupied. It would be amnesia of history to say we have always had disagreements and yet stayed together. I shudder to think what our historic arguments would have looked like if modern social media had been available.

So I will not appeal to history. I will not appeal to the various letters of Paul to divided congregations. I am going to cling to Easter, and here is why. There is no sense from the Gospels that the disciples were one hundred percent convinced that Jesus would pull off the resurrection. The stories read just the opposite. And while Thomas is singled out for his doubts, he was at least brave enough to walk in the streets when the rest were hiding out. They all doubted because the facts in front of them were hard.

But they were wrong. Jesus, like a teacher that won't give up, returns to his students for another lesson. The disciples become transformed not because of what they knew but because of who knew them. Easter is the big great surprise that claims all of our joys and doubts. That claim binds us all to God. And since we are all being held by the same Godly hand, shouldn't we try to hold each other’s?

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Tags: doubts, easter, gradye parsons, monthly column, seasons, spring, stated clerk


  1. kim jin ho: are you bi-lingual, I hope? I would be interested in being able to understand that which you took thought and time to write out as a comment to the Stated Clerk's column. However, I do not understand Korean. Would you be willing to translate your remarks into English?

    by Mark Montfort

    April 27, 2015

  2. 현실적으로는 맞는 말씀입니다. 전술적으로는 공감되는부분입니다. 미래에, 전략적으로 더크게 본다면 더 많은사람이 지향하는 바람직 한 방향은 경이로운 하나님의 창조질서를 회복하도록 손을 내밀면서 일깨워 주는것입니다. 한계절안에서 할수없이 함께 더불어 하나님을 섬기는것은 가능하므로 계절을 조성하시는 창조주의 의도를 일깨워주며 독생자 예수님을 보네시고 가르치시고 의심많은 사람들에게 보란듯이 부활시키신 바로 그분 다시 심판 주로 오시게될 그날을 위하여 함께 그분의 영광을 위하여 손잡고 나가야하며 오직 그분의 영광, 오직 약속의 말씀으로 나가며 이웃을 사랑하는것이 순서라고 생각합니다. 할수없이 두벌 옷 이상과 집한채 이상을 가지고 예수님의 제자가 되는 길을 찾아가지만 기회가 된다면 모두 팔아서 가난한 사람에게 주고 예수님을 따라가도록 모범을 보이면서 가르치는것이 모순되지만 가재가 똑바로 걷지 못하면서 가르칠때는 똑 바로 걸으라고해야하듯이 말입니다. 외식하는 자가아닌지, 저자신이 더욱 기도해야 겟다는 말씀으로 와닿는 인상젓인 글입니다. 감사합니다.

    by kim jin ho

    April 15, 2015

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