The space between resurrection and ascention…

Happy Good Friday everyone!  What a sacred and important day for the church!  The violence, agony and weight of the cross…all as a sacrifice for the sin and brokenness of humanity!  I hope that you take, or have taken a moment to reflect and ponder today.

In my preparation for Easter Sunday, I have taken considerable time to study the stories of Jesus being with his disciples after the resurrection and before the ascension.  It’s clear that the Christian faith celebrates both the cross and the empty tomb, but we rarely speak of the space between God’s acts of love and power.  It’s not too common to read about or hear a sermon on Jesus’ interactions with Peter, Thomas, John and the others…because in a first glance of this, it’s seems just a simple piece to the story.  But it’s not…

In John chapter 21, we read about Peter and some of the other followers hanging out on the lake shore.  In fact, it says that they decide to go fishing when Jesus appears to them and calls them to him.  Together, they have breakfast.

There were numerous times when Jesus appeared to his disciples, and what’s clear is that Jesus is not in any way a ghost, or spirit.  He is fully alive as he was before the cross, and this is important to the story and to our lives today…

I like what the theologian, NT Wright, says in that for too many years the church has been in the business of “soul-making”.  Meaning that we have celebrated a risen Christ who then ascended to Heaven where he waits to one day bring the believers home to him. 

If this is our understanding of Easter, then we’re simply missing the point of the Story!  Jesus came to his disciples not as a ghost, but as a human who gave them understanding of their new life because of a risen Christ.  He rose from the grave to show them how the new humanity was to live in a world, that ready or not, was experiencing the invasion of God’s Kingdom! 

From this point forward, the church existed for the world!  Not just as “soul makers” who believed that it’s all about eternal security, but as disciples who had first-hand experience  of God’s Kingdom and the new life that came with it’s embrace.

The image of God’s son on a cross certainly leads one to repentance.  The image of a risen Christ gives us hope for both today and eternity.  But the Jesus in-between teaches us to be fully alive and to use this new life to display the risen Christ in a world seeking truth, hope, and love!

Love and Peace.

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