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Finding rebirth in all of creation

Vegetation consuming an old barn

On Good Friday, Rev. Jodie Flessner saw a glimpse of what it means to fully trust all of creation to God’s redemptive power.

Superintendent, Northern Waters District

Even on the busiest of Holy Weeks, the Holy Spirit finds at least one opportunity to fill my spiritual needs in profound ways.

Like many of you, I attended a Community Good Friday Service. This year’s worship covered the traditional hours from noon through 3:00 pm, where one could feel free to come and go at the musical interludes. I appreciated the flexibility of attending a couple of meditations and music in person and then watching the remainder of the live-streamed service at home.

Many moments struck me, but when Father Ciprian Streza of Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Church outside Traverse City talked about Christ’s death and resurrection as an act of redemption for all creation, it hit me in a new way. I had heard this view of redemption before, and I have resonated with it. But never on Good Friday. Perhaps it was hearing it from the unfamiliar theological slant of the Orthodox Church, but it was as if I was hearing it for the very first time.

I deeply appreciate pausing on Good Friday to reflect on how Jesus Christ went to the cross for each and every one of us. However, what was different this year was how I was reminded that this wasn’t just about humans, just about me, but everything around me. It was enriching to be reminded that God is at work in the universe, working to bring redemption, healing, wholeness, and rebirth to every part of creation. Whether that’s in the beautiful places where I enjoy hiking and kayaking, in the empty storefronts and abandoned houses where beauty breaks through even in the midst of deterioration, or in the moments where the world around us succumbs to divisiveness to the point of physical, mental, and spiritual violence.

As I reflected on the events leading to Christ’s crucifixion, I felt the drama reach a fever pitch where there was no way of turning back, no way to turn down the craziness. Betrayals and denials that couldn’t be undone, riled-up crowds shouting down any voice of reason, religious leaders who were convinced of their rightness, political leaders who couldn’t negotiate another option, and soldiers carrying out their brutal duties.

As the waves of this craziness caught up with him, Jesus Christ was calmly firm, steeped in prayer, and only spoke words acknowledging that this was not the end but the beginning.

Even on my best days, even in my most hopeful moments, I get caught up in the fever pitch of our polarized culture. I push back, and I want to scream and shout. I don’t seem to be able to fully trust what is happening around me to God’s redemptive power. I don’t seem to be able to limit what I say and do to only that which points to God’s redemptive power.

On Good Friday, I caught a glimpse of what it means to fully trust all of creation to God’s redemptive power. My heart is lifted, not because Christ’s death and resurrection has nothing to do with me, for we are deeply involved. My heart is lifted because it is not all about me. God is at work in everyone and everything. God can bring resurrection and new life out of the worst situations. God’s redemptive power is working in every corner of creation.

This all seems obvious, but this year I needed to hear it again in a way that made it real, reaching into the depths of my soul.

As we journey through the seasons of Easter and Pentecost, may the Holy Spirit fill your spiritual needs in profound and real ways.

Last Updated on April 26, 2023

The Michigan Conference