Newsletter - Chips Off The Rock - April 2019
Easter is coming. On that day, Christians all over the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. We do that with worship, music, prayer, dance, Holy Communion, and various visual arts such as banners, paintings, and drama.
Many in our communities wonder about the validity or usefulness of the whole idea of resurrection. What does this reality do for us? If it happened to Jesus and has been promised to us isn’t that enough?
Here in the American Midwest we see the clues to resurrection all around us during the spring season. Seeds sprouting, birds hatching eggs, and the awakening of all the trees and bushes that lay dormant all winter. Life brought out of death.
In his letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul points out the eye witness accounts of Jesus resurrection. He turns with confidence to Peter, the 12 disciples and 500 men, to James and the apostles, and lastly to himself on the road to Damascus. These are his witnesses to the real resurrection of Jesus. He then goes on to say:
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
What difference does resurrection make in our lives? I suppose that if we did not believe in resurrection our interactions and relationships would be quite different. Without resurrection why would we bother to be interested in the welfare of anyone but ourselves? Wouldn’t the importance of our particular life overshadow any need to be concerned about the welfare of others or providing justice in the relationships we have with each other and with the environment we inhabit? These are values and behaviors about which the God of both the Old and New Testaments repeatedly reminds us.
How do we know that resurrection actually happens? Well… we don’t know with any certainty, except for the accounts that we read in the Bible and the clues we glean from our observations of the natural world, and the intuitions we receive from our encounters with the divine presence. We can point to near death experiences as proof, but there is really no way we can prove or disprove the reality of resurrection. We trust and have faith that God will not abandon us, even in death.
Paul assures us in his letter to the Romans: I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God, that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Minutes for Mission
April 7, 2019 – Rhonda Dorn highlighted the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Initiative and the many ways it addresses needs throughout the world.
The Global Food Initiative funds are used to invest in small-scale economic development, educate about healthy practices, promote soil conservation, advocate for hunger issues, and more.
It has worked in countries all over the world, including in the United States where it helps organize and sustain community gardens in urban areas struggling with poverty and a shortage of fresh produce.