"But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died"1 Corinthians 15:20 (NRSV).
"Are you sure there aren't any pieces missing?", I asked myself while I tried to build a puzzle that I had received some months before as a birthday gift. It is a very difficult puzzle, so I decided to follow the advice of the experts: begin at the corners and slowly but surely complete the outside frame in order to determine the size, and then start filling in each piece using the frame as reference.
Of course, it is also important to look at the photo of the picture that makes up the puzzle you want to build so that you have an idea of what the end product looks like. However, the photo is never enough. If you don't start with the frame as reference it will be very difficult to continue.
When I think about the resurrection of Christ I get the sense that we look mostly at the end result, the resurrection, without taking into account God's frame of reference: the life and teachings of Jesus. Sometime we seek to understand the resurrection without actually paying attention to the experiences, decisions and words of the One who is risen. Without all the pieces of Jesus' life, the resurrection can become a doctrinal truth that has no impact or relevance for us today.
The lifestyle that was affirmed by the Father when he raised Jesus from the dead was the one that is shown in the Gospels. The Old Testament contains some violent passages, but Jesus did not live according to these. The Old Testament tells of the life of leaders who abused others, but Jesus lead by way of daily service and dedication. The Old Testament speaks about the lives of very rich people, but Jesus chose to live simply.
During the time of Jesus there were leaders that held correct doctrinal beliefs but were immune to the pain of others. But Jesus lived a life of compassion. When Jesus lived there were religious leaders that supported repressive governors that used violence and favoured the richest.
Even so, Jesus took a preferential option for the poor while seeking social justice. By doing so he distanced himself from those who sought to establish that same justice through the use of violence and weapons. There were also people who built cultural, religious, economic and gender barriers when Jesus lived, but he built community where everyone was valued, welcomed and loved equally.
The life that God resurrected was none other than the one that Jesus lived through the power of the Holy Spirit while deeply depending on the Father. It is this kind of life that provides us with the frame of reference needed to understand the resurrection. It is also this kind of life that will allow us to experience that same resurrection.
As we celebrate Easter Sunday and reflect on this reality, may we pray for the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit so that we are able to live in accordance with the frame of reference that Christ's life provides us with.
Let us pray so that there will be "no missing pieces" in our political decisions, in our relationships and in the way in which we manage our money. Let us pray so that in all ways our leaders and churches reflect the model of the life that God resurrected from among the dead.
---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Mennonite Central Committee<EastCoast@mcc.org> Date: Thu, Mar 29, 2018 at 7:30 AM Subject: Strawberry pie, quilts and fun! To: Phil and Kelly Horning <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Auctions featuring handmade quilts, furniture, original artwork and much more
Delicious treats including strawberry pie
Ten Thousand Villages merchandise and other artisan displays
MCC Alumni & Friends Gathering: Come by the MCC booth on Saturday at 10 a.m. for a time of mingling and sharing of your MCC experiences with other friends and alumni. Feel free to purchase a snack and beverage in support of our relief sale vendors and bring them along.
Visit PaReliefSale.org for additional details and a complete schedule of events.
Come see this contemporary performance that weaves together verses from all four Gospels to tell the story of Jesus' last supper, trial, crucifixion, and glorious resurrection! Touring at local churches and organizations from now until April 15th. To see where we'll be next...click here to go to our Events Page.
On Sunday, April 15th, there will be two performances at 3 & 6pm at Calvary Church in their Lower Auditorium. To reserve your free tickets, click on the button below!
Passion: The Musical Cast Members: Adelina Grosshans, Caleb Hughes, Denver Taylor, Ben Wenger & Aaron House performing at Calvary Fellowship Homes on March 15th.
IGNiTE Internships Now Interviewing for Summer 2018 and Fall 2018-Spring 2019
A next step for high school or college graduates to gain leadership and ministry skills through a Performance or Production track discipleship program! For more information...visit www.piercingword.org/interns
Lancaster's only summer theatre camp that focuses on BIBLE MEMORIZATION. This week long day camp is held at Calvary Church, July 9-14 for ages 10-18. For more info. visit www.piercingword.org/summercamp
Now booking for 2018! Two women and one man tell the stories of these women of the Bible. See the stories of Huldah the Prophetess, the Woman at the Well, and Mary & Martha and how they were all touched by God's truth.
This contemporary portrayal is an excellent performance to have at Women's Bible studies, Mother's Day events, as well as Sunday morning church services.