Friday, April 10, 2015

The Journey: A Resurrection People!

By Rev. Mike Bealla
Director of Connectional Ministries, SUSUMC

One of the most inspirational and wonderfully empowering moments for me is in the singing of Charles Wesley’s “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” along with others on Easter morning.  What a triumphant moment it is when we, with great assurance and without hesitation, lift our communal voices to proclaim the truth anew … Christ the Lord is risen today! Alleluia!

I think I am so moved by this hymn because wherever it is sung, those voices sing as though they truly believe they are a resurrection people.  They sing with fervor regardless of the their current reality and at least for the moment on that very sacred morning, their hope in Christ feels more like trust than just wishful thinking.  Easter morning assures us that our vision of Christ-centered future is already in place for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear the presence of Christ among us. Yes, there is so much more to be done, but the outcome is sure!

As we break bread together during holy communion we are reminded in the Prayer of Great Thanksgiving that because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we, the church together, have become the living, breathing, loving, reaching, nurturing physical body of Christ through which others are able to witness God’s presence in our world today. Christ is risen in us!

Often I need to open my hymnal and read Wesley’s great hymn text again. Those without resurrection eyes see little hope for their congregation and tend to live more like a people of the crucifixion than people of the resurrection. Brothers and sisters, while without the crucifixion there would be no resurrection … no hope… no new life … the point of truth is of course resurrection is real … and it is the church’s to own, to proclaim, to live and to share.  Resurrection is the church’s vision to offer to a world convinced there is little hope for a transformed world.

What difference will the season of Easter make in your life this year?  How about in your church?

As we come nearer to our next session of Annual Conference, I long to hear our voices coming together to sing in praise to God!  I long to celebrate again the fact that we are better together as a conference than as separate churches scattered about doing our own thing. I long to hear stories of vital congregations where the resurrection story has happened and is already transforming lives and indeed the world.  And most of all, I look forward to hearing stories of places were resurrection is just beginning to happen in new and exciting ways replacing faded hopes with powerful witness.

For those of you who will be attending Annual Conference this year, listen!  Listen as we sing like the resurrection people we are, hear the stories of vital congregations in mission and ministry, and plan for our future which even now God is breaking forth before us and inviting us to walk with God on the Journey!

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