Practice Resurrection

12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and all were made to drink from one Spirit. 14For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

During this season of Lent we acknowledge and reflect on the sacrifice of Christ. When we look at his sacrifice we also understand as believers that it is because of our sin that Jesus suffered, bled, and died. When we consider the highs and lows in the last week of the life of Jesus the contrast is amazing, devastating, and beautifully terrifying. In the span of one week Jesus goes from being celebrated at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, to being arrested, put on a cross to die. He died for you and me. His death paid the penalty of sin so that death would not fall on us. As our good friend the late Rev. S.M. Lockridge would say “It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming.”

Hallelujah the resurrection was just around the corner. Life would not be the same. Our lives are a reminder that too often we live on the Fridays of our lives and forget sometimes that Sunday’s coming. Sunday is not coming, but Sunday is here all the time for those who know Jesus Christ. How then do we live each day in light of the resurrection of Christ?

A few years ago a Eugene Peterson, pastor and professor, worked to translate the Bible in a way that would be helpful for modern readers. His work is the Message Bible. Eugene in his golden years set out to write what he calls “conversations” in spiritual theology. These conversations fell into five books, the last of which captures well a beautiful thought in its title, Practice Resurrection.

Those words alone speak to what the church is to be about practicing resurrection. We can study and understand theology. We can know all about Jesus. We can even have acknowledge and accept him as Savior and Lord, but are we practicing resurrection? Practicing resurrection is not about what have done in the past or about awaiting a future in heaven, it is about life and how we live it now.

The idea that we practice resurrection is that we live differently in the here and now, in light of the resurrection of Jesus. It is not what we individually do, but that we do our part as the Body of Christ. Practicing resurrection is not about perfection but is about putting aside our individual ways to follow the Way, the Truth, and the Life, Jesus Christ. It is about working together as his body to be his presence alive in the world today. Does the resurrection make a difference? It does when we practice it, and give life through his life in us!

Impressions

Impressions

On Tuesday, January 19, 2016, Maryanna’s dear grandmother went to her heavenly home. There are many who knew her longer and who are happy for her, but are sad for ourselves for the delay that we will have before seeing her again. We are comforted by the words of scripture.

4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

I personally would like to consider how she lived her life. She bore both the beauty and marks of Christ. In her life she honored the one who gave himself for her.

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Those who knew Grandma Cole knew that she sought to have the mind and spirit of Christ.

1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, [a]6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, [b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross. Philippians 2:2-8

Life will eventually get tough for us all, and when the pressure and difficulty of life squeeze us, and weigh heavy against us can we see truly what is on the inside. If you squeeze a grape, grape juice will come out, but what about the believer. Has the beauty and marks of fruit of Christ pour out of us during crisis?

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

We must take care to guard our hearts and minds in Christ, so when the challenges of life do come that the fruits of the spirit are evident in our lives.

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

What impressions do we leave as life presses in upon us? I pray it is the beauty and marks of Christ. I am thankful to have seen a wonderful example of that lived out in Grandma Cole.

Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27b