Page 106 was a Sunday and after my ditch digging work of yesterday, it felt good to sleep in and get some extra rest. I did make it up in time for the morning worship gathering with my family at Deer Run. It was a great Easter Sunday spent with my family and by evening, my mind and body were both tired so the writing of the page was put off until the next morning.
The church service was well attended and it was good to see so many out to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. David’s message centered around a narrative of the resurrection account that combined details from all four gospel writers. For the Christian, our hope dwells in the fact that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is alive and at work in us so that we too may be raised. Because each gospel writer saw the events of the resurrection from their own point of view, they each tell different details of the same story. There are some who claim that such differences have to mean the story isn’t true, it’s just something they made up. Experience would say that just the opposite is true — if the stories were completely identical with no differences allowed for personal observation, then a rational person would say it was a well-rehearsed made-up story.
David did a great job not only telling the story, but challenging us to consider its importance in our own life. As he told of the apostles commitment to the facts of the resurrection — a commitment so great that they were willing to keep telling the same story even to the point of death. It reminded me of the old story told of four teens who had not prepared for an exam so they skipped class. The next day, after they had prepared, they told a story of having a flat tire on the way to class. In fact, not only did they have a flat tire, when they got their spare tire out it too was flat so it took most of the day to get help and back on the road. They begged their teacher to allow them to take the exam late, given the circumstances. Finally the teacher agreed to give them a new exam that they would take with each student in a separate room by them self. The new exam had one simple question, “Which tire?”. The point is, is that it is difficult to keep track of the details of a story that is made up and sometimes you don’t even think of all the details you need to fabricate. Not one of the eleven remaining disciples ever wavered from the story of the resurrection and its importance in their own life.
The message also covered the authority of scripture, the empty tomb itself, the impossibility of the disciples to actually overcome the group of Roman soldiers that were guarding the tomb, the transformation power of the resurrection in many people including a man named Saul of Tarsus, and the fact that so many people in the first century were believing in Jesus that it was being said that the message of the gospel was “turning the whole world upside down”.
Even with all the proof, the problem with believing is that it requires us to do something about it. When I led the prayer time at the end of the service, I asked the congregation one question — “Do you believe?”. As you would expect, there was an audible response from the vast majority of those present — “Yes!”. But as I shared then, the real answer isn’t what we say with our words inside a church building, the real answer is how we respond with our life both inside and outside the building.
Following the worship gathering, we had lunch at home and eventually made it out to the river walk for an afternoon family stroll. Today’s photo was taken during that walk as this great bird stood motionless along the riverbank as we stopped to photograph. So much of the wildlife we photograph seem to begin with a protection mode of blending in to their surroundings. If that doesn’t work and they feel that they have been noticed, they take to plan B which is to leave as quickly as possible. I get it. I often live life in one of those two modes. But as Christians, we are called to “shine like stars in the universe” as we represent the One who was raised from the dead.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- Hard work is good for both the mind and body but like most things, done to excess causes problems.
- It is just as easy, sometimes easier, to become enslaved to good things as it is to bad things. I personally have to be very careful not to become enslaved to habit, tradition, or routine.
- If you’re going to tell a story that lasts, the truth is much easier to remember than all the details of a made-up story.
- Just because we each see things from a different vantage point doesn’t necessarily mean we are looking at different things.
- If the power of the resurrection “turned the whole world upside down” in the first century, what is it doing in your life today?
- What we believe will determine what we do. If it doesn’t, then we really don’t believe.
- If you and I are to “let our light so shine”, then we will have to get beyond the blending in and running away responses when it comes to living our faith.