Hallelujah, He Is Risen. He is risen indeed.
This is the cry of surprise and joy that is heard throughout the Christian Church today… and around the world. This great message is real for us as Christians because we have had an encounter with the risen Christ at some point in our journey of faith. It means something to us, it encourages us to live life with a fullness and a vigour that influences the people around us as light influences the darkness, as salt influences or seasons meat or a meal.
However there are many in our world for whom this Easter experience is quite meaningless and inconsequential. This week in my grade 7 Religious Instruction class, not a single child had been to church for Palm Sunday last week or had any capacity or intent to attend Church over Easter. WOW, that was a shock!!
This certainly is not the fault of the children or even the parents for that matter. There are many reasons for our society and communities to be so unaffected by the Christian message and life. We as “The Church” probably need to take some responsibility for the indifference towards “the gospel” and the message of Easter. We have a huge task ahead of us if we are going to be the kind of Easter community that Jesus formed through this death and resurrection.
Leslie Newbigin says in his book, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, “Jesus did not write a book but formed a community. This community has at its heart the remembering and rehearsing of his words and deeds, and the sacraments given by him through which it is enabled both to engraft new members into its life and to renew this life again and again through sharing in his risen life through the body broken and the lifeblood poured out. It exists in him and for him. He is the centre of its life. Its character is given to it, when it is true to its nature, not by the characters of its members but by his character. Insofar as it is true to its calling, it becomes the place where men and women and children find that the gospel gives them a framework of understanding, the “lenses” through which they are able to understand and cope with the world.”
Now that is a huge quote, but I’d like you to reflect on Newbigin’s intent as we examine the way we represent the Christian faith as an Easter People at Ashmore Uniting Church. In our weekly worship experiences, through the different ministries of the church, and in our daily lives with our families and in the world at large, we need to ‘remember and rehearse Christs words and actions’. Christ has to LIVE in us.
Today is ‘resurrection day’ and Leslie Newbigin’s quote reminds us that the sacraments are given to ‘engraft new members into the life of the Christian community’. We will be doing that this afternoon through the sacrament of baptism and re-affirmation of baptism in the Currumbin Creek. (See details on next page). Several adults and young people will be committing themselves to Christ through this sacrament. Everyone is welcome to join in this celebration of new life and commitment at 12.30pm today.
In conclusion, I’d like to thank everyone who assisted in last Sunday’s (Palm Sunday) Worship experience and in the Magic of Music afternoon. You blessed many people. THANK YOU.
Have a great week and live as Easter people all the time.
Hallelujah, He Is Risen. He is risen indeed……Rev. Brad Foote