Thursday, April 12, 2012

Resurrection Community

On Easter Sunday, I offered the image of the church being a "Resurrection Community." I long for the church to be a place where the words, "Christ is risen" means something to us today and makes a difference today. "Christ is Risen" is spoken in the present tense.

We don't say "Christ was raised" in the past tense.

Or "Two thousand years ago, something happened and some people might have seen something, but to be perfectly honest, we really are not sure." While I appreciate that might be closer to the truth of how some people in our churches feel, the reality is that loooooong sentence really doesn't roll off the tongue. That looooooong sentence doesn't give me goosebumps as when I shout out, "Christ is risen!"

In some ways, I don't think Easter is a propositional theory for us to understand. Easter, like the cross, is meant to be experienced, not explained. And we offer people a profound experience on Easter. The sight of a larger crowd and the smell of the Easter garden and the sound of the brass. There is a reason why people come at Christmas Eve and Easter, it really is the church offering our energy and best efforts.

But that is tough for pastors and musicians and the People of God to maintain. We get caught up in life and stress and other stuff. While we know every Sunday is Easter Sunday, the truth is we really don't live that way. Sometimes we get caught up in the size of the stone and don't see that it is rolled away. Sometimes we get caught up in grumbling about the darkness of the tomb and don't see God's presence. Sometimes we get distracted by the way our voice echoes...echoes... echoes off the empty tomb that we really don't hear the promise of God.

That is why I think being a resurrection community is so vital today. As people of faith we need to take seriously that Easter makes a difference and makes us different. Starting next Sunday and continuing through the first Sunday in July, I am going to be looking at the Book of Acts as a way of understanding what it means to be a resurrection community. Acts details the early church and in some ways I think we today are like our ancestors 2000 years ago.

The early Christians lived in a Roman world that did not understand them and did not know what to do with them. We live in a world that does not understand why you would want to get out of bed on Sunday morning and go to church when you could sleep in or go shopping.
The early Christians lived in a world where they were trying to sort out who they were and needed to tell their story. We live in a world where we are still trying to figure out what it means to be a follower of Jesus right here and now. And we still have a story to tell. The Book of Acts will offer a chance to look at the practices of being a resurrection community and (I think) has the power to even change us into one!

I pray it does.

God's blessings and peace as we set off on this journey through Acts.

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