This year our family did something new when it came to decorating for Christmas....
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! This simple but profound proclamation is one of my favorite parts of the Easter service. I love echoing with the congregation this core truth of our faith. When I was a local church pastor, I often reminded the congregation that this profound truth changes everything. We aren’t remembering a cool “magic show” but are remembering a truth that fundamentally changes everything at the core. Here are three things I hope the resurrection changes for us in this coming year:
- I hope the resurrection gives us new identity – John 1 gives a bit of an overview of Jesus’ life from a theological perspective. We are reminded that the light shone in the darkness but the darkness didn’t overcome it. It also reminds us that when we receive him we have a new identity as a child of God. Our culture is asking a lot of questions now. Who am I? Who are you? How do we define and classify ourselves? It may sound simple and even trite but if we as believers embrace our primary identity as children of God, it would bring such unity in the church and a powerful witness to the world.
- I hope the resurrection gives us a new perspective – 1 Peter 1:3 tells us that he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection. It is hard sometimes to have hope. There are new tragedies everyday. The recent shooting in Nashville hit home for many. Many of our ECO pastors have personal connections with the church or its leaders. For those who didn’t have personal connections, it is easy for us to identify with the victims. I certainly never want to minimize tragedies like this or those that happen in our personal lives, and there is little comfort that this world can provide in these situations. We therefore cling to an eternal perspective given to us by the resurrection.
- I hope the resurrection gives us a new purpose – I love the repeated pattern in the resurrection accounts of Jesus. The pattern is that he gives peace to those who are startled by his presence. He then commissions those he interacts with saying things like “Go tell the others,” “As the father sent me so I send you,” and “Feed my sheep”. Like the image in ECO’s vision statement, we are to be scattered like dandelion seeds by the Holy Spirit in whatever context God has placed us. We are called to be and share the good news of Jesus to those around us. May the resurrection continually change and mold our purposes individually as well as collectively in our churches.
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! This is not just a truth we proclaim with our lips but a truth we proclaim with our hearts and our lives as we go into our world.