Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunday's Here!!

Sunday's here! The grave is empty--Jesus is RISEN! This is the season in the church when we celebrate the greatest act of love in history. The past couple of days, I have been thinking a lot about "the holy catholic church," the universal body of believers. So often we extol individuality--even in our personal relationships with Jesus--and while that is certainly important, I think there is something we lose sight of in our independent western culture: Corporate faith, collec
tive faith, the fact that "Wherever two or three are gathered in My name, there I am there in the midst." (Matthew 18:20) We can and must have our own private, intimate fellowship with God. But we can't deny the fact that something supernatural happens when we come together with others who believe.
Before he ascended to heaven, Jesus wanted more of Peter than he had been giving up to this point. He asked him, "Do you love me? Then feed my sheep." (John 21) Maturing faith is never just about me. It is about US. Just as my hand can't tell my eye, "I have no need of you," neither can I dismiss others who claim the name of Jesus. I have seen Jesus in Presbyterians from Nigeria, Lutherans from Norway, Mennonites from Florida. I have seen him in Catholics from Pennsylvania, Baptists from Washington, and Charismatics from Korea. I have seen him in Brethren from India, Dutch Reformed from Minneapolis, and Pentecostals from Missouri. There is One Event which all Christian faith centers on: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without the resurrection, all faith and hope is pointless. Without the resurrection our brief lives here are futile, filled with inexplicable pain--the suffering of loved ones with cancer, the sudden death of a child, endless woe and misery and struggle. But He AROSE! I believe it. And I draw energy from those of you who believe it, too. No, we don't have every answer to all the whys in our world, but we know the One who does.
Great men and women down through history have died waiting for the Promise of His Coming. And now you and I wait with them--old men, grandmothers, young parents, teenagers and toddlers from every nation, tribe, and tongue. We join together on Easter to remind ourselves--and the world--that this is not our home. That Jesus has gone before to prepare a place for us beyond our wildest imaginations. That, where HE is, we will be also. A place of no tears, no sickness, no suffering. Because He lives, there is strength to live lives of purpose, focusing on the goal that lies ahead. Easter's message of hope is for us and for all who are far off that will yet believe because of our stories of faith. Won't you tell yours?

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