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Laity Reflection: What Now?

May 2, 2014
Northern-Sun Print
Often with a big holiday like Easter, most of our focus is on the preparation. We are caught up in the Holy Week activities, Palm Sunday, Holy or Maundy Thursday services, Good Friday services, and the anticipation of Easter Worship. Even in addition to that, the secular activities of decorating our homes, perhaps buying a new outfit, coloring Easter eggs, planning and preparing an extended family meal and arranging travel plans draw our focus away from the Holy remembrance that is Easter. But here we are. That was over a week ago now. Can't we just get back to reality and our normal activities? What now? My inspiration this week comes from (besides Easter itself) two sources. The book by Rev. Adam Hamilton, 24 Hours That Changed the World, which some of us have been studying during Lent, and an article by Rev. Karen Nichols Dungan, a United Methodist assistant to the Bishop, titled, "Now What?" What now? You see, we are all really asking that same question. Because there is not much written in the Bible, Hamilton talks about our imagined reaction of the disciples at the death of their leader. They had put their whole lives in the hands of Jesus, seeing in him the promise of the Christ prophesied in their Jewish faith. They had watched the miracles. They had heard his message, but yet not fully understood its meaning. As his disciples, wouldn't we have been devastated, too, to find him crucified by worldly evil and self-serving churchleaders? But something happened to change the disciples. Even though they didn't fully understand or expect the resurrection, the encounters with the risen Jesus radically transformed them from cowering, frightened followers into enlightened and emboldened believers, empowered to go out and continue Jesus work in the world. We, too, are on the other side of the resurrection. We, too, have identified with the disciples in their frustration, intimidation and uncertainty. Will we also be radically changed by the power of the resurrection into taking on the work still to be done in Christ's name in the world? Hear the words in these scriptures: Matthew 28:18-20, "And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Romans 1:1-6, "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,…" Do you hear? Do you hear what both Matthew and Paul are affirming? You (we) are called to continue Jesus' work. We are called to be 'radically changed, empowered, emboldened and filled with hope as a result of (our) encounter with the risen Lord', (Hamilton) just like the first disciples. We can 'allow Christ's living presence to teach us, his Holy Spirit to empower us, and God's promises to free us, so that we experience the joy of living the transformed life, inviting others into it, and teaching others how to do the same'. (Dungan) In your life, may you be witness to the risen Lord. Hallelujah! Written to God's honor and glory, Carolyn Moe



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