June 7, 2009


Easter: God is always a step or two ahead
The angel’s rhetorical question to the women at the empty tomb – “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” – suggests that we serve a God who resides mostly in the future. God is neither buried in some remote past nor captive to the realities of this moment, but is always working in our future and calling God’s people to trust in his ability to make a way where there is no way. 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Mark 16:1-8

Because of Sunday: Sing in Doxology
If our worship is built on the notion that God is master only of the status quo, only of the world as it is now, then our singing will likely be plain and listless. But Easter morning prompts us to sing in praise of the God who trumps the status quo, by fashioning new life where before there was only death. We sing in praise to one who is not bound by the Friday-dilemmas of our lives. 1 Peter 1:3-9, Matthew 28:8-10

Because of Sunday: Live in Hope
To be caught up in the mystery of the risen Christ is to live our lives in between two resurrections: Jesus’ on Easter Sunday; ours in a time yet to come. By analogy, it as though we play the “game” of faith on a field with two end zones, with two victories—one behind us, one before us. The promise of God’s “new heavens and new earth” gives shape to a life of hope in the here and now. Acts 2:24-33, Revelation 1:4-8

Because of Sunday: Take Courage
If Christ has been raised from the dead and is alive and present to the world through the Holy Spirit, and if we are “in Christ,” sharing a living bond with him, then we can have courage in ministry precisely because he has “overcome the world.” His reality in heaven is now our reality on earth. 1 Thessalonians 2:1-4, John 16:29-33

Because of Sunday: Stand in Wonder
From the vantage point of a strictly empirical point of view, belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus could appear foolish or outdated. But it could also be possible that the bright light of Easter morning calls into question the notion that scientific scrutiny is the only mode by which we can know the living God. Like Thomas, the risen Christ invites us, not to trump our critical thinking, but to transcend it—to stand in “shock and awe” before the victorious mystery of Easter Sunday. John 20:24-31

Because of Sunday: Sense your Vocation
The risen Christ greets the earliest Easter disciples with a word of shalom, then sends them out into the world inspired – literally! – with God’s spirit. For all the ways the resurrection hope colors our view of the future, perhaps the most pressing implications of Jesus’ resurrection are for the here and now—in our being sent into the world. Our vocation is shaped not merely by what we do to earn a living but by the particular places God’s spirit sends us as resurrection-peace-people. Acts 4:23-31, John 20:19-23

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Q. 46. What do you affirm when you say that "on the third day he rose again from the dead"? That our Lord could not be held by the power of death. Having died on the cross, he appeared to his followers, triumphant from the grave, in a new, exalted kind of life. In showing them his hands and his feet, the one who was crucified revealed himself to them as the Lord and Savior of the world.

Q. 47. What do you affirm when you say that "he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father"? First, that Christ has gone to be with the Father, hidden except to the eyes of faith. Second, however, that Christ is not cut off from us in the remote past, or in some place from which he cannot reach us, but is present to us here and now by grace. He reigns with divine authority, protecting us, guiding us, and interceding for us until he returns in glory.

Q. 63. What is the mission of the church? The mission of the church is to bear witness to God's love for the world in Jesus Christ.

Q. 64. What forms does this mission take? The forms are as various as the forms of God's love, yet the center is always Jesus Christ. The church is faithful to its mission when it extends mercy and forgiveness to the needy in ways that point finally to him. For in the end it is always by Christ's mercy that the needs of the needy are met.

Q. 65. Who are the needy? The hungry need bread, the homeless need a roof, the oppressed need justice, and the lonely need fellowship. At the same time -- on another and deeper level -- the hopeless need hope, sinners need forgiveness, and the world needs the gospel. On this level no one is excluded, and all the needy are one. Our mission as the church is to bring hope to a desperate world by declaring God's undying love -- as one beggar tells another where to find bread.

— 1998 Presbyterian Study Catechism