On a recent Sunday, our congregation sang the hymn “The Church of Christ, in Every Age” (ELW 729). The opening line says, “The church of Christ, in every age beset by change, but Spirit-led, must claim and test its heritage and keep on rising from the dead.” 

I kept glancing back at the first stanza as we sang the remaining four, wondering if that last part was quite right. “The church must…keep rising from the dead?”  It struck me as extreme. Yes, the church is always changing. Yes, we claim and test our heritage, following the Spirit. But rising from the dead? Don’t be so dramatic, dear hymn. The church hasn’t died since it started, shortly after Jesus’ own rising. Right

Maybe. For years, historians have argued there is an every-500-year trend in Christianity whereby a new and more vital form of religion emerges. It happened around the Reformation. And it happened 500 years before that and 500 years before that. In each case, some long-held ways of being church died. New forms of faith rose up. And in between each major shift, Christianity rebirthed itself in countless smaller ways as particular practices, structures and even theologies shifted.

For instance, did you know that part of the adult baptismal rite in the early church involved slapping the candidate in the face? At some point, the church let that practice die. (Good call.) Other practices were born. The church is always dying and rising. You have to in order to keep following Jesus.

As we celebrate Christ’s rising this Easter, I’m reminded of how God is bringing new life at Trinity:

· the relaunch of TLC’s Care Ministry in February – a powerful lay team that is helping us visit, support, and provide home communion for more people than ever

· the new worship/music leadership model where ministries that used to be led by one person are now shepherded by ten different people

· the departure of our Youth/Young Adult Director Kristian Carlson (a loss for us!) but a new beginning for him in his home congregation, and a chance for us to find our next great leader

· the call committee for our Pastor of Spiritual Care receiving some candidates to consider

In Christ, we are always rising. What a promise – for the church and for each of us.
Pastor Dan Gerrietts