Pastor’s Page

Dear UJCC family

I’m writing this on the first day of Spring. Just driving around town, we see petals raining from the trees as the wind blows gently. The buds on the trees seem otherworldly; in my neighbor’s yard, the fig tree’s bare branches have leaves unfolding from their tips! Yesterday afternoon, I saw a breathtaking red bud tree and an amaryllis with a flower as big as my face!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…No matter how many springs a person experiences, it’s always like we’re experiencing it again for the first time. It’s such a time of wonder, almost like a return to childhood when “magical” is the word that describes much of our existence.

We know Spring will always follow winter. We trust that after the cold, rainy season the daffodils will come up once again and our Valley temperatures will rise to their summer peak.

As we approach Easter, the parallels strike me: we travel through Lent; we are guided to journey through a season of repentance, reflection, and prayer. And we know what awaits us on the other end.

As Easter people, we expect resurrection and yet each time we experience it, it has a freshness, a newness that catches us by surprise. Whether it is the blossoming of hope after a time of heartbreak and suffering or an enfolding peace that takes our pain and transforms it into renewed purpose, resurrection is real. Truly God is faithful. We trust God will see us through difficult times, just as God remained faithful to Jesus through his trials. We trust in the
energy and spirit of resurrection.

And when we know in our bones the power of resurrection, we don’t want to keep it for ourselves! We have two upcoming opportunities to include our friends and family in the miracle of new life and joy that Christ extends to us:  Easter Sunday on April 16 (Easter breakfast before worship and Easter Egg Hunt after!) and the UJCC Annual Church Picnic on May 7! (Also please don’t forget two days that lead us into this celebration: Palm Sunday on April 9 @
10:30am and Good Friday on April 14 @ 7pm.)

Before I close, I want to give thanks again to Mark Muzyka who has served faithfully as our Treasurer and Finance Chair. We thank him for the countless ways he’s strengthened our church, helped streamline our finances, and educated our congregation on the budget and restricted/non-restricted funds, among other things. He stepped down at February’s Board of Directors meeting because he wants to worship with his wife, Laurie, at her church. We
are most grateful for Dr. Ken Kurokawa, interim Chair of Finance Committee, who has already done so much in the last month! His tireless efforts, sharp mind, and compassionate heart are such gifts for UJCC.

Lenten and Easter blessings!

Akiko