Celebrate the resurrection of Jesus
Every year on Easter Sunday, Christians gather around the world to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Some people greet each other with a traditional greeting. This saying reads: "He has risen!" In response, the answer is: "He has truly risen!" I love that we celebrate the good news in this way, but our response to this greeting can seem a little superficial. It's almost like having a "So what?" would append. That made me think.
Many years ago when I asked myself the question of taking the resurrection of Jesus Christ too superficially, I opened the Bible to find an answer. As I read, I noticed that the story didn't end the way this greeting does.
The disciples and followers rejoiced when they realized that the stone was being rolled aside, the grave was empty, and Jesus rose from the dead. It can easily be forgotten that Jesus appeared to his followers 40 days after his resurrection and gave them great joy.
One of my favorite Easter stories happened on the road to Emmaus. Two men had to make an extremely stressful walk. But it was more than the long journey that made them discouraged. Her hearts and minds were agitated. You see, these two were followers of Christ, and just a few days earlier, the man they called Savior was crucified. As they walked on, a stranger unexpectedly came up to them, walked down the street with them, and got into the conversation, picking up where they were. He taught her wonderful things; starting with the prophets and continuing through all of Scripture. He opened her eyes to the meaning of the life and death of her beloved teacher. This stranger found her sad and led her to hope as they walked and talked.
Finally they arrived at their destination. Of course, the men asked the wise stranger to stay and eat with them. It was not until the stranger blessed and broke the bread that it dawned on them and they recognized him as who he was - but then he was gone. Their Lord, Jesus Christ, appeared to them in the flesh as Risen One. There was no denying; He was indeed risen.
During Jesus' three-year ministry, he did amazing things:
He fed 5.000 people with some bread and fish; he healed the lame and the blind; he cast out demons and brought the dead to life; he walked on the water and helped one of his disciples do the same! After his death and resurrection, Jesus performed his ministry differently. In his 40 days before Ascension, Jesus showed us how the Church should live the good news. And what did this look like? He had breakfast with his disciples, he taught and encouraged everyone he met on his way. He also helped those who doubted. And then, before going to heaven, Jesus instructed his disciples to do the same. The example of Jesus Christ reminds me of what I appreciate about our community of faith. We do not want to stay behind our church doors, we want to reach outside what we have received and show love to people.
We attach great importance to reaching out to all good, grace and to helping people where we can find them. This can mean simply sharing a meal with someone, as Jesus did in Emmaus. Or maybe this help is expressed in offering a ride or offering to go shopping for the elderly, or maybe giving a discouraged friend a word of encouragement. Jesus reminds us how, through his simple way, he got in touch with people, how on the road to Emmaus and how important charity is. It is important that we are aware of our spiritual resurrection in baptism. Every believer in Christ, male or female, is a new creature - a child of God. The Holy Spirit gives us new life - the life of God in us. As a new creature, the Holy Spirit changes us to become more and more involved in Christ's perfect love for God and man. If our life is in Christ, then we have a part in his life, both in joy and in long-suffering love. We are partakers of his sufferings, his death, his righteousness, his resurrection, his ascension and finally his glorification. As God's children, we are joint heirs with Christ, who are included in his perfect relationship with His Father. In this regard, we are blessed with all that Christ has done for us so that we can become God's beloved children, united with Him - always in glory!
That is what the Worldwide Church of God is (WKG) makes a special community. We are committed to being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ at every level of our organization where they are most needed. We want to love other people, just as Jesus Christ loves us, by being there for the discouraged, by offering hope to those in need, and by showing God's love in small and large things. At the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and our new life in him, let us not forget that Jesus Christ continues to work. We are all involved in this ministry, whether we are on a dusty path or sitting at a dining table. I thank you for your benevolent support, for your participation, for the vital service to our local, nationwide and global community.
Let us celebrate the resurrection,
GRACE COMMUNION INTERNATIONAL