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On a warm spring afternoon, hours of raking in my yard resulted in several containers filled with dead grass, leaves, vines and branches, all casualties of winter.

The good feeling that came from removing the lifeless debris, was enriched by the signs of new life that now bursts forth as flowers bloom, grass turns green, and leaves begin to appear on trees. With the coming of warmer weather, I trust God will provide sufficient rain and sunshine for the seeds that are sown in the gardens and fields, to grow!

Each spring the church celebrates God’s gift of new life in the death and resurrection of Christ. In the storied waters of baptism, people are grafted to Christ who is the true vine, the source of our life and nourishment in faith. Recently, in a powerful worship service between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, eleven young people, ages 4-24, received new life in the waters of Christian baptism.

In this extraordinary celebration of God’s grace, new life in the risen Christ burst forth in the eleven individuals, their families and in the Prince of Peace community of faith that welcomed them into the Lord’s family.

Someone searching for new life may ask: What is to prevent me from being baptized? The answer as stated in Acts 8:36-38, is quite simply, nothing! All that is needed is water and someone to baptize in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Once baptized, believers in the risen Lord Jesus experience new life daily by remembering our baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection. Once baptized, believers find joy in abiding where the Risen Lord gathers us, even two or three of us, in his name.

Life is found in Jesus, the one who said: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing,” (John 15:5).

Abiding together in communities of faith, “Easter people” are rooted in God’s word, drawing deeply from the wells of baptismal grace, and receiving nourishment in the breaking of bread together.

With a grateful heart, I give thanks to God for all the churches in our community that proclaim in word and deed, that Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Rev. Kent D. Johnson is the pastor at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in La Crescent.


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