Friday, April 10, 2015

In Remembrance of Him - An Easter Message

In a little bit, we will be observing the Lord’s Supper. Since Easter, a word that is closer to an Old Slavic word meaning “Great Day”, and our monthly observation of the Lord’s Supper falls on the same day, I thought I would take time to focus more closely at the command, “As often as you do this, do this in remembrance of me”, and Paul’s statement: “We proclaim the Lord’s death.”
It is fitting because as we proclaim the Lord’s death, we proclaim why He had to die. And because we proclaim why he had to die, we can’t help but to tell the rest of the story as why his death is so significant.
My passage this morning picks up where the Scripture Reading left off. I will be reading from 1 Corinthians 15.21-26:
20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man.  22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.  23 But each in his own order:  Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power.  25 For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet.  26 The last enemy to be abolished is death.
Our partaking of the Lord’s Supper is the proclamation in a world that needs a bit of good news today. This week alone, we have had a great share of bad news, of loss of life, of tragedy. In Kentucky flooding, a mom and her baby were swept away. Hundreds needed to be evacuated as waters rose quicker than expected. In Kenya, Muslims targeted a university because of its rich Christian student population. Last I checked on Thursday, the death toll was sitting at 174. That’ just 2 of the many world events. I can’t even begin to describe personal struggles and storms. I can think of loved ones who once daily called on the Lord turn their backs all because of the storm that hit their lives.
“If God is good, then why does this happen?” they ask. It goes back to the garden, to Adam. That is when sin entered the world. With sin, death came in. With death comes sickness of the body, sickness of the mind. People become more selfish. Despite the world supposedly becoming better, think back to when you were growing up. How many of your neighbors called you by name? Today, how many children do you call by name, aside from your own? Our concern for one another is waning. We are becoming more selfish. Prisons are filling with people who’ve lost respect for others or have made bad decisions as they seek their own happiness, and all because of our sin that we allow to remove us from God, further away.
Yet, God was not content in allowing this ever growing rift. That is the mission of Jesus’ life. He came to mend that rift that we are able to once again be in His presence. Now mind you, as the rift is mended, though we were created to worship and fellowship with him, accepting Christ’s gift will not spare you storms in your life, nor the consequences of your past actions prior to coming to Christ. He does promise to give you the ability to weather the storms.
Adam gave us death. Jesus gives us life. This life isn’t a better life in this world, but to allow us to look forward to a better life apart from this world. This life, we see that we have brothers and sisters suffering. We see our neighbors searching. But in Christ, we will have life because this day, He conquered the last enemy, death.
In remembering Christ, we look forward to His return. First there was his resurrection, he is the firstfruits. Then those who belong to Christ will be made alive as well. Then there is the end. Some may see that this is a second interval, a second second-chance. But I see it as the time of judgment before the Father. It is at this time, those who do not belong to Christ will bow their knees and confess that Jesus is the Christ and the Lord.
Yet we belong to Christ and we proclaim his goodness, his mercy, his grace and his love. So as we remember this morning what this day means, what Christ has done, allow it to create an urgency, because that last enemy is already defeated. His return is closer now than it has been.

At the Sunrise this morning, I pointed out that people come to Christ more times not because of fancy, polished preachers, or from the moving music, but because of the Christian witness that they see in their Christian friend, co-worker, family, or neighbor. You may be the only person who can reach the people in your sphere of influence. So proclaim not just today as we take the Communion, but proclaim tomorrow, proclaim on the good days, proclaim in the midst of your storm. Praise the Father and proclaim the Great News of this Great Day!

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