Ripples of New Life | April 2023

April was an exciting month for us here at Redwood!  Amidst the waning winter and the first hints of spring, our Lenten journey drew to a close.  For Holy Week, we hosted a wonderful performance of “The Seven Last Words” – with the music of Haydn performed by a string quartet and readings written by Marianne Jones.  This beautiful, contemplative evening was a foretaste of the destination of Lent, our Good Friday service.  As one of you shared afterwards, “The Seven Last Words, the posters of the Stations of the Cross and the communion on Good Friday were all such meaningful ways to experience the suffering and passion of Jesus during this special week.

But the story didn’t end at Good Friday.  Two days later we gathered to proclaim and celebrate that “He is risen, he is risen indeed!”  With songs of celebration, rocks painted white, stories of new life in Christ, and some falling confetti (sorry-not-sorry to those who days later were still finding some in their hair!) we “left our grave clothes behind!” (as one of you said), and celebrated Jesus, who overcame the grave.  And by no means do we view numbers as the measure of success, but after years of restriction-laden Easter services, it was pretty wonderful and powerful to gather together with the 805 of you that joined us on Resurrection Sunday.

And the ripples of that new life continue to be felt – particularly in our Youth and kids.  We’ve heard stories of kids going home from Kids Church and sharing the Easter story with their parents all week, and kids who are sometimes nervous to be away from their parents coming into the freshly painted gym and participating without hesitation.  We got to celebrate Kimberly, who followed Jesus into the waters of baptism, proclaiming the new life she’s found in Christ, not just to the adults in the service, but also to all the kids who joined us for our first family service.
We’ve continued to see new people stepping into serving roles, particularly in our Sunday tech teams and kids ministry.  It takes many hands to make our ministries happen each week and we are so grateful to all who give their time to service this community.  More than that, we believe that serving is such a significant way to grow in Christ and to grow in relationship and community – few things bring people together better than joyfully working side-by-side, so we celebrate with those who are taking these next steps toward Jesus and the richness of life together in the church.

We also continue to see new life in the stories of a woman who gave her life to Christ during the Celebrate Recovery Course, and from those who completed the most recent Alpha Course.  As one participant shared, “Prior to Alpha, I would say that I was on the doorstep of my Christian faith. During the Alpha series, I have walked through the doorway to meet Jesus, and now I’m in a completely different place in my life. I was so broken, but now I feel God’s love is filling all the cracks and healing me from the inside out.” Amazing!

So thank you for your participation in our community of faith.  Thank you for seeking the face of God with us in worship each week.  Thank you for coming out to the various concerts, courses, family bowling nights, and all of the other ways that we gather to learn and grow and laugh together.  Thank you for your support in serving and giving.