Celebrate the resurrection of Jesus

177 resurrection celebrate JesusEvery year on Easter Sunday, Christians gather around the world to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus together. Some even use to greet each other with a traditional greeting. This saying reads, "He is risen!" and in reply, it is answered, "He is risen indeed!" I love that we celebrate the good news in this way, but our response to this greeting may seem a bit incomplete. It's almost like being a "so what?" could append; and that made me think.

Many years ago, when this question first came up, I opened the Bible to find an answer. As I read, I noticed that the story does not end up as our greeting does with the stone that rolled aside and the disciples who rejoiced. It may easily be forgotten that for 40 days after his resurrection, Jesus has continued to appear to his followers.

One of my favorite Easter stories of that time happened on the road to Emmaus. Two men had to make a very strenuous footpath. But it was more than the long journey, so they were discouraged. Their hearts and thoughts were upset. You see, these two were followers of Christ, and only a few days before, the man they called the Savior was crucified. As they walked on, a stranger unexpectedly approached them, walked with them down the street, and entered the conversation, picking up where they were. He taught her wonderful things; beginning with the prophets and continuing through the whole scripture. He opened his eyes to the meaning of the life and death of her beloved teacher. This stranger found her sad and led them to hope as they walked together and spoke.

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 a few breads and fish; he healed the lame and the blind; he drove out demons and brought the dead to life; He walked on the water and helped one of his disciples do the same! His service somehow resembled a Cecil B. De Mille movie production from the golden age of Hollywood. Films that have impressed with a huge backdrop and fantastic special effects.

After his death and resurrection, Jesus performed his ministry differently. In his 40 days before the Ascension, Jesus showed us how the church should live the good news. And how did this look? He had breakfast with his disciples, teaching and encouraging everyone he met on his way. He also helped those who had doubts. And then, before going to heaven, Jesus instructed his disciples to do the same. This is like this "So what?" this story for me.

The example of Jesus Christ reminds me of what I appreciate about our faith community. We do not want to stay behind our church doors, but reach out to the outside, what we have received and show love to people.

We attach great importance to giving all the best, mercy, to the outside and helping people where we find them. This may mean simply sharing a meal with someone, as Jesus did in Emmaus. Or perhaps this help expresses itself in offering a ride or the offer to go shopping for the elderly, or perhaps it is to give words of encouragement to a discouraged friend. Jesus reminds us how, through his simple way, he communicated with people, as on the road to Emmaus, and how important charity is.

And that's what makes Grace Communion International (GCI / WKG) a special community. We are committed to being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ wherever they are needed, at every level of our organization. We want to love other people, as Jesus Christ taught us, by being there for the discouraged, offering hope to the needy and bringing out God's love in small and big things.

In the time of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, let us not forget that Jesus Christ continues to work. We are all involved in this service, whether we are on a dusty path or sitting at a dining table. I am grateful for the benevolent support, for your participation, in the lively service to our local, national and global community.

Let us celebrate the resurrection,

Joseph Tkach

president
GRACE COMMUNION INTERNATIONAL


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