Now What?

afterThe songs were raised, the sermons preached – Easter has come and gone – now what?  It is not a bad question, really.  For some churches it’s on to the ‘next big thing,’ another program designed to stir excitement, to draw another crowd, to keep the folks coming. That is not my style! Yes, celebrating the Resurrection is a GREAT thing, a powerful reminder of what makes our Christian faith what it is, hopeful, eternal.  The real application of the truth starts today.  If we believe what we sang and heard the pastor preach – that Christ rose, that heaven awaits, that our lives are hidden with Christ in God –  we have a BIG mission yet to fulfill.

Consider that all the celebration yesterday was like the wedding is to a marriage.  A couple spends months planning the day, then a few hours enjoying the ceremony and reception, the dances and the honeymoon. Those moments, important as they may be,  are not  ‘being married.’  Marriage is the stuff of blending lives, learning to love, encouraging, sharing intimate moments, making traditions together, kids, dinners, disappointments, vacations, sickness, health, richer, poorer, better, worse – right?  A big, beautiful wedding does not necessarily lead to a loving, joyful marriage, as too many couples can attest.

We left our churches yesterday full of hope, our spirits high, now we go to live as His disciples.  Luke tells us that Jesus met two travelers on the road to Emmaus. They were discouraged, wondering how all their hopes in Jesus had been so quickly crushed by the death.  Not knowing Who they were talking to, they said, “We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body.” (Luke 24:21-23)  Jesus explained the Word to them, and as He sat at dinner, they realized the Truth of the stories they had heard.

Later, as they reported their experience, Jesus suddenly stood among the circle of disciples and “He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.” (Luke 24:38-40, NIV)  Those people saw but still struggled to accept the impossible. Dead men just don’t return to walk among us.  I find their struggle comforting in a way, because my mind pushes back, too.  Faith is not always a simple, straight line experience, is it?  I wrestle with the implications, pray about the meaning, and ask for wisdom to understand. Do you?

Later on, Jesus led the disciples to a place outside of the city of Jerusalem and told them “You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:48-49, NIV) They had lots of work to do and they needed to be divinely empowered.  We still have that work to do.  There is a world that needs to see real love in action, that needs to hear words of hope that are more than emotional.  It’s our turn now.  May I suggest that the now what for us is not to hurry off to do some great thing, but that during this week after we take some time to listen, to wait, to make sure that we have let the seed of Truth take root? If those people needed to wait for 50 days in Jerusalem for the Spirit to fall, we need to wait, too; expecting, looking, hoping, and ready to take the Call.

Here is a word from the Word  – Jesus’ mission statement for us.  “Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20, The Message)   But, first wait!  “What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”  (Acts 1:8, The Message)

Lord, give us ears to hear what the Spirit saying, courage to accept the challenge, and faith to live what we sing. Amen.

_____________________

Mystery

Sweet Jesus Christ my sanity
Sweet Jesus Christ my clarity
Bread of heaven broken for me
Cup of Salvation held out to drink
Jesus mystery

 Christ has died and
Christ is risen
Christ will come again

 Celebrate His death and rising
Lift your eyes proclaim His coming
Celebrate His death and rising
Lift your eyes lift your eyes

 Sweet Jesus Christ my sanity

Charlie Hall © 2008 sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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