Monday, April 5, 2010

After Easter, What is Next?

A “Go With God” moment.

Welcome back from our Easter “Holy-day.” Did you take any time over the time away and reflect that Easter is the end of Lent? We have spent the last six weeks preparing ourselves, through acts of personal denial, to be ready for Easter…and now it’s over. So now we as Christians can now put the spiritual stuff to rest until the end of the semester? Right? I mean nothing comes after Easter of any significance until Advent and Christmas. Nothing tops the Resurrection, right? Well, may I correct your Church calendar theology. Easter is in actuality a pre-cursor of another event in the life of the church that is yet to be encountered; Pentecost. Originally, Pentecost was one of the three main pilgrimage feasts in the life of ancient Israel. It comes 50 days after Passover, in conjunction with the celebration of the harvest. In the early church it also commemorates the arrival of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the praying 120. According to Luke’s theology, it is the climax of the promise made by the Father (Luke 24:45-49). Wow, the Resurrection is not the spiritual trump card? And it is what the early church was instructed to wait for in Acts 1:4-8.

May I put it to you simply? Jesus’ death and resurrection is more than a means of forgiving your sins. If that is the way you view Easter, your thinking is far too reductionistic, self-centered, and reeks of a modern western individualism. Rather, the New Testament as a whole understands Easter as a portent for making possible the shaping of the Body of Christ into His Image here on earth. This is continually portrayed in the New Testament in a corporate/community sense, not individually. Maybe we can think of Pentecost this way, “Through the Power of the Holy Spirit, WE are being fashioned into ONE.” Those are not really my original thoughts, but they are a paraphrase of Jesus’ prayer to His Father in John 17. Remember that John chapters 14-16, at least in part, are about the Gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus actually tells the disciples that “it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)

Now, listen to the Son pray:
“My prayer is not for them [disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21).

Think of it this way, Easter and the Ascension lay the groundwork for Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the church; empowering us to live a “Christ-like life.” And that Christ-like life is best described in “one-ness.” And the best model is the Trinity. The concept of Pentecost should be that we resemble the relationship of the Father-Son-Holy Spirit. And if you say, “That’s impossible,” I dare say, you have just limited the work of God in your life. Make that our life. For your faith indeed impacts my life, for good or for...well you get the picture.

BTW, Pentecost Sunday is May 23rd.

Lord Jesus;
We desperately need the power of Your Spirit in our lives.
But Jesus, power as You define it, not my concept
Make it Your Will and Your way.
I want nothing short of Your work.
Make me an instrument for the world to see You.
You may begin today.

Now, Go with God.


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