It’s Easter 2015! Today, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
But what does this event of nearly 2000 years ago have to do with you today? Everything!
As outlined in my prior 2 articles (Good Friday: A time to Pause) and (Easter Saturday: Jesus went to Hell), Jesus of Nazareth had been killed, his body buried in a temporary tomb, and his Spirit freed to continue his teaching and inviting ministry among those who had died before he brought the “good news” of God’s unconditional and unmerited love into our world.
On that first Easter morning then, the “expectations” of the 3 women were that they would now go back to the tomb, and properly prepare Jesus’ body for an official burial. They were amazed that early morning, to find the tomb empty, and an angel sharing testimony that “He is not here, he is risen”.
Yes! Jesus broke the rules as “known” by humans – he showed that God is more powerful than human death; that life continues beyond the grave, not just for him, but for every person that God created in this world!
Part of the human “life” adventure consists of being born, growing up, making choices, and experiencing physical death. The “who you are” was, is and continues to be a spirit, created intentionally, and given gifts and a purpose, by your God. Throughout your life, you are creating and developing your spirit through your choices, actions & attitudes. That same spirit continues living after your mortal body dies… just like Jesus’ Spirit did.
And yes, you too will experience a resurrection – a restoring of your spirit with a permanent (eternal), incorruptible body. We learn from scripture about 2 resurrections: the first for the “righteous” persons/spirits, and a second, later, for the “unrighteous” spirits. (Details of that amazing “life after death” story is for another time & place)
Jesus was a righteous spirit, and by resurrecting on that Easter morning, he demonstrated for us, the pattern that all humans WILL follow.
And so, the choice is ours: what choices and actions will you take in this life, that qualify us to participate in either the resurrection of the righteous or the unrighteous? Either way, you WILL continue living! You will be accountable for the poor choices you make, and rewarded for the righteous, positive choices you make.
Faith and following Jesus is NOT about what church you attend, what church you join, what your pastor/minister says or does, or what you choose to believe (or not believe). Following Jesus is about YOUR choice to learn of his life, his teaching, his invitation, and to choose to follow that invitation into blessings in THIS life, and beyond.
Disciples of Jesus are “learners”, who are open to the idea that they perhaps don’t have all of the answers, and that what they’ve “heard” from others in the past, may not be 100% true. Disciples recognize that they make mistakes, which separate them from God and other people. And disciples want to work to STOP making those mistakes, and make responsible choices to accomplish that! Disciples ask Jesus to help guide and direct their lives. They recognize that no one (and no church) has all of the answers, but that God does! Disciples choose to think and behave as Jesus would, upholding the worth of all persons, the importance of love between all people and with God, and making responsible choices that lead to healing, wholeness and restoration.
Because SO much of being a disciple of Jesus is about relationships (with self, with others, with God), it is not possible to fully be a Christ-follower by yourself. You MUST choose to be in community with other people and with God, in order to have opportunity to practice and learn skills like forgiveness, repentance, reconciliation, and relationship building.
If you have a positive church-family that helps you stretch and grow in your discipleship, “dig deeper” and allow them to help you on that spiritual growth journey.
If you do not have such a church family, FIND one! Don’t be satisfied with a “sit in the pew” and a list of “what to believe”! Disciples are not sitters, and are not locked into a fixed list of “beliefs”. Disciples are “do-ers”, who are called to help God create his kingdom on earth, as prayed for in the Lord’s Prayer.
I invite you to explore a Community of Christ congregation in your area. We’re an international faith denomination, found in over 60 nations, who “Proclaim Jesus Christ, and Promote Communities of Joy, Hope, Love and Peace”. If you are needing Joy, Hope, Love and Peace in your life, we invite you to come and learn about our Jesus — alive and well, and bringing blessings & healings to those who choose to be His people!
Not ready to visit a Community of Christ congregation yet? That’s OK! Come when you’re ready. But in the meantime: consider trying our online seeker’s chat, every Sunday evening, 9-10 pm Central time, at www.CofChrist.org/Sunday-Chat. A minister will be there waiting for you to arrive, and together, the gathered group will explore together, the basic teachings of Jesus, learn about God and the Holy Spirit, and invite you on a journey with Community of Christ, to engage daily with the resurrected Jesus Christ. You’ll be amazed at what you find!
Wise men still seek Him!