Okay, so we sang our “Alleluias!” on Easter, but things still seem pretty much the same. Right?
You might have worshiped at a church that expected you to sit in socially distanced formation, recommended but didn’t require you to wear a mask (you didn’t at first but got the stink eye from the ushers so you put on the ratty mask you had in your purse/pocket), and instead of singing out “Christ the Lord is Risen Today!” you were instructed to listen as the masked choir sang since it would be too risky to allow for a whole congregation to actually uncover their mouths and sing. The whole world-changing victory of Jesus over sin, death, and the devil seemed to be pretty much eclipsed by the health and safety protocols in place.
So much for Easter, right?
Well, no, not really.
I’ve got an idea for you that will, I think, re-ignite your faith, focus your vision, and connect you with others of a similar mind, heart, and hope.
Before my bright idea, though, a couple of observations:
First, if you were disappointed with Easter, you aren’t the first. In fact, there are a couple of notable examples from the very first Resurrection Day: two of Jesus’ followers returning from Passover in Jerusalem, on the way home to the village of Emmaus, confused and disappointed. They are described as having sadness written across their faces (Luke 24:17b, NLT). They were heading back to the way life had been. Their hope in Jesus had been, it seemed, unfounded. Maybe you’ve felt that way or are feeling that way right now.
Second, perhaps because we’ve made a habit of cramming the event of Jesus’ resurrection into a single Sunday blowout worship-pa-looza, we might tend to think of the resurrection like a blast-off from the empty tomb to the heavenly stratosphere with Jesus carried up, up, and away on a booster rocket. In reality, however, the gospel accounts in the Bible, particularly Luke and John, describe Jesus’ resurrection encounters with his disciples over a period of 40 days before his ascension to heaven. Even more, in fulfillment of Jesus’ promise (John 16:5-15; and note Joel 2:28,29), the Holy Spirit is poured out upon the disciples with signs, wonders, and power on Pentecost (Acts 2). Why? Though Jesus’ resurrection is entirely unique, resurrection life in Christ is available to US right now. The mission of Christ is given to US right now. The presence and power of the Holy Spirit is available to US right now. And the community of Christ-followers can be OURS right now, too.
So here’s my suggestion to re-ignite your faith, focus your vision, and connect you with others of similar mind, heart, and hope.
God is providing an opportunity to United Methodists in Northern Illinois for spiritual, congregational, and missional renewal through a vibrant, newly emerging international community of Christ-followers called the Global Methodist Church. The United Methodist Church is at a turning point. Maybe you, and perhaps your congregation, are at a turning point, too. Instead of disappointment, how about a new appointment with a community of like-minded and like-hearted Christ-followers who are focused on a new day dawning for God’s renewing and reviving work among us?
There are two upcoming opportunities to check out
this community of believers in person:
Seriously, friends, if you are seeking a more vital and vibrant future for you, your faith, and your local congregation, get connected to the emerging network with either or both of these options.
I hope to see you there!
P.S. The image above is Daniel Bonnell’s Road to Emmaus. Just in case you wanted to know.