Sunday, April 22, 2007

Can Christians be pessimists?

I think that our church is full of people who are pessimists. They don’t think that there’s any hope for the world.

I lived my formative years growing up around people who feared the evil around them, and forgot that God is stronger. They lived their lives in fear that somehow if they came in contact with the “ways of the world” that somehow either they would become tainted or they would set themselves up for some sort of moral failure.

I guess my questions is “Can Christians be pessimists?” Can we not have hope in the work that God is doing in the world? I believe that the power of Jesus resurrection has empowered those sent out to spread his message. Isn’t that the story in the early church?

Christians in the Roman Empire were social outcasts. They couldn’t buy or sell. Large percentages were slaves and women (both who had few rights). They were heavily persecuted and killed. And yet somehow the Gospel of Jesus (the Good News of Jesus) continued to spread. It spread until it Rome became Christian.

They earliest Christians preached that Jesus had come to restore creation. That through His work death had been defeated and the restoration was possible. Not only was it possible but it was happening! It’s actually how they organized themselves. They were bring resurrection to their world through how they lived their lives. This is how they lived and look what happened.

We are living in an ever-increasing post-Christian society. Europe, Australia, and America can no longer be seen as Christian nations. The average Christian today is a woman from Africa or South America; nations with no wealth or social stature.

So can Christians be pessimistic? Can we believe that in all honesty that we’re in a big mess and the world is beyond saving? Should we just kiss the post-Christian community good bye and say there’s no hope in the Gospel (the good news) every changing our own culture?

Maybe, just maybe if you say there isn’t any hope for the post-Christian western community, if you believe that Jesus’ work didn’t do enough…maybe your view of what happened on Easter morning some 2000 years ago isn’t big enough.

Monday, April 09, 2007

New Beginnings

Easter happens on the 1st day of a New Week!

The symbolism of the resurrection being on that beginning of a new week should not be lost when you read and reflect on Easter.

Creation happened in a week. And on the final day of the week God rested. His work of creation started and ended in a week.

Jesus resurrection happened on the first day of the week. One way of understanding what is happening is to see a new week of creation happening. Jesus through his death and resurrection has started a new creation!

This new creation is based upon life. The New Testament authors keep coming back to the idea that death came through Adam, and life comes through Jesus. That the old creation is characterized by Adam's sin, but the new creation is characterized by Jesus resurrection!

Happy Easter! HE IS RISEN!!