Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As the fifty days of Easter unfolds, so
does our Easter Message Series, “F.R.E.E.”.
We are called into the glorious freedom of those who have
been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Yet, like the
earliest disciples of Jesus Christ, this call to freedom
manifests itself within very human limitations, human
frailties. And so our Easter Message Series has moved us
from that initial “Fear” that first gripped
the followers of Jesus as they first witnessed the empty
tomb, and heard the voice of the angel declare, “He is not
here, He has been raised.”, to the “Realization”
that what they thought had brought their fledgling
discipleship to a tragic end (Jesus crucifixion and death)
was, in fact, just the beginning, a re-birth (if you will)
into the new life of the Risen Christ. From “Fear”
and “Realization” they were led to an “Encounter”
with Christ. Some he greeted with a breakfast of roasting
fish on the shore of a lake; for others, like Thomas, the
encounter was intensely personal, being invited to place his
hands in the wounds of Christ, and not persist in his
unbelief. For others it came in the Breaking of the Bread.
These “Encounters” were necessary to move
the disciples from unbelief to belief. But that was not the
end of their Resurrection experiences. From “Encounters”
with the Risen Christ they were ultimately called into an “Engagement”
of what it now meant to be a believer, a disciple. This “Engagement” propelled them
beyond the limits of their own small worlds into the larger
arena of global discipleship, making them “fishers of men”.
They were no longer just disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ,
but were now commissioned as disciple-makers, “Engaged”
to go into the whole world and proclaim the Good News that
Now the idea of our Message Series is that
we are not just tracking the progression of those earliest
disciples of Jesus, but, in fact, considering how we move in
the exact same progression, from “Fear” to
to “Encounter” and ultimately to “Engagement”.
This progression is the maturing of our faith, and God’s
call is no less intentional in our lives as it was for Peter
and Paul and Mary and Martha and those whose lives we
remember in these fifty days of Easter. Ultimately, for
those who have “eyes to see, and ears to hear” God is moving
us into those same mission fields of discipleship, and
growing us into fully engaged “disciple-makers”.
I leave you with this bit of poetic prayer by Dom Helder
“Holy breathing of God,
I feel You stirring.
Warmed by this breath good things start to grow.
Even in strong, wealthy lands Fresh,
mobilizing calls evoke planetary piety,
Winning the hearts and the hands of the caring:
Each in her chosen path,
Each with a special gift,
Take their stand
To create a world more fit for living
More just and more humane.”