Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Community Formation Around Resurrection Experience


Vinod Johnson
Carmel MTC, Boston, MA
6 When Paul noticed that some were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he called out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” 

Sometimes, the only thing that keeps you going through a brutal winter is the hope for the spring. It may have been a hard hope to hold on to this particular year in New England - a year in which Boston considered dumping not tea, but the ever growing mounds of snow into its harbor. And yet, the waist deep snow has dissolved away. White desolation has given way to increasingly visible green shoots of spring. A resurrection is at hand!

In this passage, Paul tries to defend himself before the Sanhedrin Council. He seeks to drive a wedge between the Pharisees who believed in resurrection and the Sadducees who did not; even though neither believed in the resurrection of Jesus. 

The Temple at Jerusalem where Paul made his defense was a symbol of a different sort of resurrection. It had risen from the ashes of Solomon’s first temple, following the return of the exiles from Babylon. This resurrected temple would be at the center of Jewish community formation, rituals and worship - during a period that would last almost six hundred years. The time of Paul’s trial was a time of great trial and tumult for the Jewish people themselves. Alas, the days of this temple were numbered too; revolution, war and destruction would soon be rained upon Jerusalem and the temple.

And yet, history did not march on without hope. Paul spoke of a hope that was grounded in the resurrection - not of nations, traditions or temples but in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. That singular event would be the foundation of God’s new creation. We the Church, are the heirs of that new creation. We are a different kind of community, the community of believers who formed around the resurrection of Jesus. Unlike the kingdoms and temples of old, this Kingdom and Church will have no end.

The resurrection of Jesus is grounded in history, animates our present and informs our future. The resurrection seeks our faith in past events, the evidence of the empty tomb and the testimony of the transformed apostles. It demonstrates God’s love for mankind and demands that we love our fellow man in return. It reveals a great hope for the future. For the day when the Lamb of God will return like a Lion. For the day of hope when all believers will be resurrected. For the day of spring to end all winters.

PRAYER

Lord help us remember the reality of your resurrection; that it may lead us to the faith hope and love that you provide us so abundantly.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
The resurrection of Jesus was a singular event. But it must be the source of continuous renewal in our lives and communities.