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Hello everyone and a happy Easter to all. Easter is a special time in which to be happy but in our world today, joy is not always associated with Christianity. In fact, the stereotype of the New England Puritan is what is often conveyed to the public and it gives quite the opposite impression. Cartoonists often picture the Puritan as an austere, gaunt, solemn-faced person dressed in black in short, the caricature of a kill-joy of whom the pleasures of this world are rejected in favor of a disciplined, serious and frugal life with plenty of Bible reading and Sunday meetings for worship. In actuality, the Puritans kind of get a bad rap here and so do we modern day Christians. Much of the world still identifies Christianity with the caricature of the kill-joy Puritan image.
     What the world seems to have never learned and what we Christians sometimes forget, is that joy constitutes a basic ingredient of the Christian life. God created the earth with its fields and streams, meadows and trees. And then he placed human beings on earth to enjoy these blessings with praise to him. And even though we fell short and still fall short of Gods intended plan, he continues to give the blessing of joy to those who follow him. Lie allows us to be happy and on occasion to laugh, even in the face of some major disappointments in our own lives.
      Have you ever wondered why a Christian can do that and so much of the world can't? Well, first of all we know that God has reclaimed us by sending Jesus to die on the cross and that we are offered forgiveness because of what he did. Secondly, because we now have a special relationship with him, we can see God's creation and his work here on earth through that creation, including some very special people he has put in our lives. So, knowing God and his plan for us, how can we not be happy?
With Easter and the spring of new life in the air, we can all sing the sang of the Psalmist when he sang: "Lift up your heart, lift up your voices and rejoice".

Joyfully yours in Christ,
Pastor Jake


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