Digging Deeper with Pastor April

Reflections on Living School

This summer, our Lead Pastor, Rev. April Blaine, began a 2-year continuing education program called the Living School. Sponsored through the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Living School gathers 150 students from around the globe for an intensive period of study in the Christian contemplative tradition. Pastor April will spend 2 weeks a year in New Mexico, studying and learning with her fellow students and professors, Fr. Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, and James Finley. The remainder of the program takes place through online readings, videos, and personal prayer practice.

Since this season will be a time of learning and growing for our pastor, she wanted to find some ways to be sharing what she is learning on this journey — hence these videos (approx 3 min). We hope you enjoy them and that they prompt you to reflect on ways that you can be digging deeper in your own Christian journey. Feel free to reach out to Pastor April if you have questions or want to know more!

Part 1

Part 2

God Loves You… No Matter What. We say it every Sunday as the heartbeat of our faith at Hilliard UMC. And yet, it is so hard to live this out. Receiving God’s love asks us to be open and receptive, which challenges all the ways we want to be self-sufficient and live life on our own terms.

In this second “Digging Deeper” video, Pastor April reflects on her journey as a Living School Student and the freedom and life that can come when we are willing to empty our hands and be present with God’s love for us.

Part 3: Holy Week

In this third video, Pastor April talks about Holy Week – the heart of our story as Christians. In Holy Week we see a God who is willing to be vulnerable, to suffer. God has much to teach us in suffering and vulnerability – in fact, God takes this path of descent into our world, descent into suffering and vulnerability, before God ascends from the cross to new life and resurrection on Easter. We like to avoid the descent, the suffering and vulnerability, the letting go and surrendering, but what if these are the very places where God can break through into our hearts and bring about transformation?

We encourage you to take this journey with Christ this week – rather than go straight from the hosannas of Palm Sunday to the alleluias of Easter, we encourage you to take the journey inward with Christ this week, the journey through suffering and vulnerability that leads to new life.