Reverend Wayne L. Sawyer
Church Office: (207) 354-6706
Rev. Wayne Sawyer earned a Bachelor of Arts (Biblical & Theological Studies) degree at Gordon College, and a Master of Divinity degree at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Rev. Sawyer is an ordained pastor of the American Baptist Churches of Maine and the American Baptist Churches U.S.A.
In addition to serving his congregation, Rev. Sawyer is also active in his denomination, serving on the Ministers’ Council of Maine. Click here to read the Covenant and Code of Ethics for Ministerial Leaders of American Baptist Churches.
Rev. Sawyer is married to Margaret Sawyer and they have two daughters, Karis and Kristen.
Easter Letter to the Thomaston Baptist Church
So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished. (Luke 23: 24, 25)
Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. (Luke 24: 10, 11)
The two passages that I have quoted above seem to me to be rather significant moments in Luke’s telling of our Lord’s passion story. In the first, in a sad bit of irony, the angry crowd demands the release of a murderer and a terrorist and clamors for the crucifixion of the Lord of life. After making repeated attempts to set Jesus free, Pilate bends to the will of the angry mob and orders the crucifixion of Jesus.
While most of us would certainly reject the notion that we would be counted as participants in the angry mob, all of us would admit that there are moments in our lives when the presence of Jesus is just downright inconvenient. We will not demand that he be removed from our lives permanently, but we often relate to him as if is is a savior only when we desperately need him. Daily pressures often set Jesus aside, and as in Pilate’s case, we sometimes find ourselves bending to the wills of those who make the most demands on us, as a matter of convenience, or perhaps, as a matter of self-preservation.
In the second passage, despite the excited faith of the women, the disciples are reluctant to believe that Jesus could possibly be alive. They have witnessed his death, after all. For centuries, the resurrection of Jesus has been aptly regarded as nothing more than an idle tale. In our hearts, we sincerely desire to believe that Jesus is alive. We read the Scriptures, we sing the hymns, and we open our hearts to his living presence. Sometimes though, our lives do not always reflect the power and the wonder and the glory of the living Christ. In this, these two passages are inextricably linked.
We sometimes reject our Lord and we sometimes fail to live in the presence of the living Lord. But this is because we are sinners. The great and wondrous message of Easter is that though we are sinners, we have received mercy and grace. We are forgiven sinners, and that makes all the difference.
The prophet Isaiah, sensed a bit of this wonder and glory and grace and mercy when he wrote,
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed. (Isaiah 53: 5)
Christ is alive eternally. We are alive eternally. This is the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
A blessed Easter to you all, lovingly,