Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Our High Holy Day

Easter is the High Holy Day of Christianity. The Biblical record clearly shows that Christian faith began not with Jesus’ birth or through his teaching. Christian faith began with his resurrection.

The disciples were not prepared to believe in the resurrection, even though Jesus had predicted it. When he died, they went into sorrowful and fearful hiding. When he rose there was hope, yet not a sense of faithful confidence. It was when the disciples met the risen Jesus that faith sprang into eternal existence.

I sorrow for those who proclaim Christ but doubt or disbelieve the resurrection. Theirs is a “faith” of philosophy served by a hermeneutic of skepticism, philosophical syllogisms, and clever turns on words. They often separate Jesus from Christ, taking one to be historical, the other metaphorical. They are, sadly, like those to whom Paul preached in Athens:
When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered…(Acts 17:32a)
While modern-day Athenians in the Church do not all overtly sneer, their rejection of the clear reality of the Resurrection must certainly be an affront to God. Thankfully, on that day in Athens, not all mocked the resurrection:
…others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” …(Acts 17:32b)
This particular Easter was a reminder to us at the Kirk of the power of Christ through difficult times. While we’ve struggled with denominations, we’ve not struggled with who is Lord. Once again, in worship, we met the risen Jesus. Three thousand strong came to worship at the Kirk last Sunday, the highest attendance we’ve ever had on one Sunday. It reminds me that human arguments may seem powerful, but it is faith that has true strength.

Keep praying—keep the faith,
Tom

PS My son-in-law remarked on the Kirk's vibrant Easter saying, “Not bad for a church 'in schism' and 'internal division.'"

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tom,
I want to thank you for the wonderful Easter message you preached on Sunday. It was a powerful witness to the Lord's resurrection on a morning filled with prayers, hymns of praise, handbells, brass, organ, and piano all wrapped up in the sweet fragrance of worship.

This has been a difficult year for me emotionally and spiritually for a number of reasons. There are times when all of us need an affirmation of what we believe.

It's not always easy to have an Easter faith or to maintain it. As you pointed out on Sunday, according to the Scriptures and the earliest creeds of the Christian church, Jesus was crucified, Jesus died, Jesus was buried, Jesus rose to life again 3 days later in a real bodily resurrection.

Life, death, and life after death have been themes for reflection since the beginning of time. We all have to deal with them in our lives whether we want to or not. Easter brings them to the surface.

Ultimately each of us has to deal with the issue of the risen Jesus personally.

This Easter season I experienced an affirmation--one of those transforming moments of epiphany brought about by the Holy Spirit--when faith confirmed anew the reality of Jesus' empty garden grave. (Fresh experiences of faith are wonderful things!)

It's all about faith, isn't it? Faith--that substance of things hoped for, that evidence of things not seen.

Easter is a forever thing. Jesus is risen! Jesus lives!

Joyfully,
Peggy Alexander

Mark said...

Jodie,
Dear sister please read the following. I know all to well that facts don't change emotion but I just can't help myself.
http://www.str.org/site/DocServer/3-4_2007_SG.pdf?docID=1661

liberty4u said...

Mark,

I loved the article. Great stuff.

Paul