As we approach the fifth Sunday of Easter, there’s so much to celebrate! Friends, Christ is risen. This awesome reality shapes who we are as Christian believers, and our rejoicing flows from it.

We spend the Easter season intentionally unpacking the deep, transformative aspects of the resurrection. So far, our Sunday scriptures have explored the abiding peace Christ offers in the midst of doubt and uncertainty; the mystery of Jesus made known to us in the breaking of the bread; and the deep comfort of knowing Christ as our Good Shepherd. This Sunday we’ll engage with Jesus as the way, the truth and the life, contemplating how he reveals the Father to us. And we’ve still got two Sundays to go!

It’s critically important for us to reflect on God’s goodness, and exult in it. Truly, we are messengers of the gospel of Christ to a world that desperately needs Good News. This is why we take celebrating so seriously at Bethesda-by-the-Sea, not just because it’s fun (which it is), but because the joy of the Lord is our strength, as the prophet Nehemiah said so succinctly. It’s why we welcome friends and newcomers alike with gladness. It’s why we put great effort into uplifting worship. And it’s why we have delightful gatherings — to express appreciation within our parish family, to grow together in Christ, and to invite others into the joy of Christian fellowship.

There’s no doubt: we take celebrating seriously at Bethesda. Together, let’s continue to rejoice in our risen Savior, and spread his love abroad to this community and beyond.

The Rev. Susan Beebe