Friday, April 22, 2011

Resurrection Ahead ...

Dear Friends and Members of Calvary Presbyterian Church,

Because Christ is Risen from the dead, we are, too.

There are many dimensions to resurrection:

  1. A personal dimension. In Christ, we have courage to face the many trials that come our way; we have patience in dealing with difficult situations; we extend grace to others who are troubled and sad; we are quick to forgive, even when others can’t apologize; we are quick to offer apologies when we’re wrong; we’re humble about our achievements, because everything is a gift of God, and whatever we have is only for God’s glory and the blessing of others. Our life, here and now, is held in the arms of the everlasting God, and it’s God who tells us to keep our eyes upon Christ and keeps our feet moving in the right direction. Because of Christ, we do not give up!
  2. A missional dimension. We reach out with the gospel, and we invite others to look to Christ and join with us in God’s effort to redeem all of creation and lift people out of despair. We join with others of good will and peace all around the world. In God’s wisdom, a world of many languages is the best of all possible world. We send out missionaries to tell others of Christ, and in the telling, we dig water wells, we build hospitals, we help nations fight AIDS, we promote peace and we build bridges of understanding. We cannot and will not look upon others in a way other than seeing everyone as a child of God, whatever their persuasion or faith or color or creed might be. When we look for good will we find it; when we seek peace, we see it; when we offer forgiveness, we are forgiven, when we build up, we are built up, too.
  3. A citizenship dimension. In Christ, we are people of peace and reconciliation. We are not impressed with military might or corporate power. We are sensitive to God’s creation, and all God’s creatures, great and small, and we work for a healthier planet. In the Risen Christ, we see God’s love for all the world and for all the nations, and we are careful about over-exuberant flag-waving and sword rattling. In Christ, we are wise about the sins of our own nation, even as we’re humbled by our personal sins. Furthermore, we are citizens of this land and this place, and as Jeremiah counseled the people to seek the welfare of the land in which they were living, so we seek our nation’s welfare, too. Not at the expense of others, but in concert with all of God’s creation. We pay our taxes, serve on juries, pray for our elected and appointed officials, spread good cheer and practice hope.
  4. A fellowship dimension. In the triumphant love of Christ, the Holy Spirit builds bridges of love all over the place. We look upon one another through the eyes of Christ, and through our eyes, Christ looks out upon the world. As Paul says, We no longer regard one another from a human point of view … as just so much flesh and blood and bone, but we see one another as God’s precious people, each created in God’s image and endowed with fine gifts. We are pained by the ways religion and society can exclude people. In Christ, our arms are open to all, and all are welcomed at the Table of the LORD. On the local level, right here at Calvary on the Boulevard, we live out the fullness of God’s love by loving one another: we open our homes and hearts to one another, we give and receive our talents, we hold hands in prayer, we hold one another up in sorrow, we walk arm-in-arm in the great work of Jesus Christ.
  5. A worship dimension. Our worship is joyful and hopeful. Because God is at work in all things for good. We gather for worship to celebrate the love of God and the world that’s coming our way. It’s a good world, and every prayer we utter, every good deed we offer, every kind word and every positive thought makes a lasting difference. And we’re serious, as well, because sin and oppression are real, and we take these seriously. We do not ignore the dark materials that flow around us and inside of us. We weep with those who weep, and we rejoice with those who rejoice. We confess our sin and the sins of the world and embrace the power of forgiveness.
  6. An eternal dimension. Death doesn’t have the last word! Yes, we all must die, because we’re mortal, and “dust to dust” is still the truth about life. But God loves the dust; indeed, God loves all of creation, and God promises a new heaven and a new earth. The end of all things is Christ. A Cosmic Christ, the Creator Christ, the Word of God, in whom all things are being reconciled – when there are no more tears, no more sorrow, no more separation and no more hurt. Only light and peace and goodness and joy. This is where it’s all headed, and by the grace of God, no one is left behind!
 To God be the glory! Christ is risen.

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