For 2,000 years Christians have declared the tomb is empty because Jesus was raised from the dead. The church has chosen to believe the post-resurrection testimony of these who walked, talked and followed Christ. Post-resurrection testimony from Jesus’ disciples and friends is all I need to undergird my belief that Jesus got up from the grave early Sunday morning with all power in his hands. A familiar Easter song sums up what I think about the Empty Tomb, "...he lives within my heart!"
I invite the Laos to take up their God-given ministry, to function as the body of Christ and/or the people of God unafraid to love God and neighbor with an even greater passion. Should we accept God’s challenge in faith, we’ll accomplish “far more than we can imagine or think.” To do so, it takes the entire body of Christ gifted and committed to be in ministry and mission for God.
The quest for peace continues to be elusive and will probably only occur when leaders on all sides of the conflicts -- be they between governments, religious faiths or denominations -- decide that the cost and pain of the status quo (doing nothing) is greater than the cost and pain of reaching an agreement and then following through with the tenets of that agreement.
In sending God's Son to the world in the form of Jesus, God provided a masterpiece that was just exactly what the world needed. The gift to the world is priceless, showing master craftsmanship with a desire to shape, in intricate detail, a relationship with humanity. And unlike the Nissan Brothers, there is no need to have cheaper products to fit smaller budgets because God's resources were infinite and the price was such that everyone could afford it.
We are created for community. Humans are social beings that have been created for covenant with God and community with others. But in order to have community, there has to be an outlet where love and grace flows. For the new ordinands, a lone ranger pastor may be able to survive and even thrive for awhile in ministry, but like Sunday's metaphors show, they eventually die. The truth also applies to laity as well.
The trek of a disciple may be a journey through the desert but it can be a journey with a song in one's heart. And it begins with following Jesus, knowing he holds the greatest hope for Jerusalem to become a City of Peace.
The greatest thing we can have is love. It was true for seven couples who renewed the marriage vows on Friday at Cana of Galilee. But it was a realization that also was owned by a community of 34 people -- some with spouses and others not -- that love will endure when stone block, mortar and human frailty fail.
A morning boat ride across the Sea of Galilee combined with a morning devotional set the stage for the first day of pilgrimage for the IGRC Ordinand Class of 2013, Bishop Keaton and others traveling with the group in the Holy Land.
First Breakfast, First Fruits, and First Month payment of 2014 payments gives rise to an understanding of ministry at another level. Even as the church works hard to supply its own needs, the needs of others are so paramount that they choose to remit 100 percent of their 2014 apportionment obligation in the first rather than the last month of the year. And what are apportionments? A General Church brochure describes apportionments as the share each annual conference or local church pays to support international, national and regional (annual conference) mission.