Posted by: Mark Nielsen | March 23, 2008

Forgiveness & Courage at Easter

I was Jesus today.

In a play at church, that is. As Jesus, I started out dead, and by the end, I was alive, smiling, and talking to Mary Magdalene. The role is quite a treat, once one gets past the worry that those are some pretty big shoes to fill as an actor.

I was almost late for the service, though. (Oops. Sorry. I’m only human…) The play was first up, and the director and cast were in a mild panic, as I had struggled to get my family out the door and into church on time. Nevertheless, the extra two-minute wait for the congregation was probably a good thing. Built some anticipation, a moment of silence for them to consider the work of God in their own lives, or what they still needed Jesus to come and fix. And yes, this cheap, imitation Jesus did eventually show up, just as the real one always does. The Holy Spirit has a way of getting God’s work done, even if it does not happen according to our schedule or our exact plans.

A very good Easter message this morning from pastor Ric Hudgens, too, on Peter’s sermon about the meaning of Jesus in the book of Acts. You can find a podcast of it at the church website, though it most likely won’t be posted for download till later this week.

Finally, I noted with humble gratitude a positive and hopeful news story about Pope Benedict an the conversion of an Italian Muslim. True faith takes courage, like that displayed by this man who will endure death threats in order to follow Jesus. Or the courage of Benedict today, speaking of peace and calling for merciful solutions in The Holy Land, Iraq, Tibet, and everywhere else the work of Jesus has not yet been completed.

Even here, right?


Responses

  1. I thought it was interesting how you ended your post “everywhere else [where] the work of God has not yet been completed.” I grew up in a tradition that said everything was done on the cross. As a result, the Sunday morning sermon is usually some “historical” evidence for why Jesus really rose from the grave. The sermon is always somewhat dry because in a penal substitionary atonement model of salvation, there really is no need for a resurrection—all the work was “finished” on the cross.

    The resurrection is just seems like a nice finish to “touch up” the story.

    I like the way you have phrased it here. Although the cross—in some mysterious way—helps us to understand that Christ has done something for us that we cannot do ourselves—that it really is finished, we must be careful that we do not think our work of implementing the cross everywhere is yet finished.

    Even here in America, it is not finished.


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