United Church of God

Letter From Lewis VanAusdle - March 31, 2023

Letter From Lewis VanAusdle

March 31, 2023

Letter to the Congregations: 1st April 2023

Our Dear Brethren,

As they sat and ate, ready to leave when the time was right, the household was quiet. The meat had been roasted over a fire, the sweet, smoky scent had filled the streets. Every bite was a little bitter and a little sweet. There was a certain level of calm and also anxiety as the family finished every last bite of the lamb that had been prepared for that very moment. It wasn't until morning that they opened their door, glancing back at the blood on the posts of the doorway as they, one by one, walked through. By faith they had followed the instructions from Moses and Aaron, and the Lord had truly saved them alive and was about to bring them out of captivity. Although the night had been filled with anxious thought and prayer, the morning brought reason to rejoice and to prepare for a swift escape to freedom.

"And Moses said to the people: 'Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. On this day you are going out, in the month of Abib'" (Exodus 13:3-4).

It was by the strength of God that the nation of Israel had been saved alive and released from years of captivity and slavery. We too have been freed from the bondage of sin and death, having been made clean by the blood of the Lamb who was represented by the lambs slain in Egypt all those years ago. And just as the people of God left captivity, we must leave behind sin and death as we move forward toward life. "Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7). "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).

Each year as we approach the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we search within ourselves, measuring our own personal growth, and oftentimes seeing where we fall short. But do we also take the time to rejoice? Do we recall how the Lord has brought us through turbulent waters unscathed? Do we remember to thank Him for all He does for us? Do we take the time to remember how our God has brought us out of our own personal captivity?

"I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father's God, and I will exalt Him" (Exodus 15:1-2).

Our love is with you,

Lewis VanAusdle

Pastor, United Church of God

NYC, NJ, CT, Malawi, Zimbabwe