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Remembering Jesus Long After Easter

Remembering Jesus Long After Easter

During Jesus’ life on Earth, He spent much of His time telling parables – stories that taught important lessons about life, faith, and God. Jesus understood the power of stories, and He used stories often to help people understand the nature and character of God. After His death and resurrection, the writers of the New Testament Gospels wrote down the story of Jesus’ life, a story that, over the next 2000 years, would sweep across the globe and grow into what we know today as the Christian faith.

Each year, Christians are reminded to return to the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection during the Easter season. We are reminded to return to the greatest story of all – the true story of a God who loved us so much that He came to live among us, and sacrificed His own life for us to be able to be with Him. Here in the Oregon Conference, many Seventh-day Adventist Churches spent Friday evening, March 29th, in reverent remembrance of the Last Supper – the final meal Jesus shared with His disciples before He was crucified. On Sabbath, they revisited the story of Jesus’ death, His resurrection, and what it all means for us.

For the East Salem Seventh-day Adventist Church, Easter weekend has long been a chance to remember why we’re here. “It’s the weekend we look forward to the most,” shared Pastor Chad Reisig, the lead pastor, “This is what it’s really all about. We’re celebrating everything – the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Our redemption and forgiveness - all of it.” Each year, the congregation at East Salem Adventist focuses on a different theme or aspect of the Easter story. “This year we really honed in on what sacrificial love looks like,” said Pastor Chad. “Something that has always struck me was that even though Jesus knew what was coming, He washed Judas’s feet. I don’t know that I could have done that. That was one of Jesus’ best friends. To know that guy was going to betray you to a horrible, miserable death and still do that – that’s what self-sacrificing love looks like.” For Pastor Chad, it all comes back to three powerful words that God has been trying to communicate to humanity since Creation: I love you. “That’s what we’re celebrating,” said Pastor Chad, “that He loved us before the world even began. To the very end and from the very beginning.”

At Crosswalk PDX, after coming together for an agape feast on Friday night and the Easter service on Sabbath, the church family rose early and gathered at Crown Point Vista House for a sunrise service at 6:45 AM. “We reflected on the power of the empty tomb and the ‘What comes next?’ question for us as believers,” shared Pastor Paddy McCoy, lead pastor at Crosswalk PDX. “We explored Jesus’ identity as Messiah, God, Son, and Savior.”

“Although it was the end of Spring Break, we were blessed over the weekend with just under 500 participants and lots of first-time guests,” said Pastor Paddy. “I knew of several who were friends, family, or coworkers of Crosswalk Portland members who have been invited for some time and finally came. I got to meet several of the guests before they left and was repeatedly thanked for our hard work, intentionality, and message. We had several responses to dedicate or rededicate lives to Jesus and we’re following up on those now. Our teams worked so hard to bring the weekend together, with some volunteers putting in well over 40 hours in the two weeks leading up to the weekend. We are so thankful to be a space for people to try church again, and to have a people and a culture who embody our mission to truly, like Jesus did, lovewell.”

As each of us moves into the coming year, a year likely to bring uncertainty, political unrest, and changes, let us always remember the Jesus we’ve dedicated our lives to – the Jesus that loved even His enemies so much that He was willing to give His life for them.

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