Mixed Messages????

Sunday was Easter, Resurrection Sunday, the day the world stops to celebrate the victory of Jesus over death and sin.  And it was a glorious day.  Our church swelled with a blend of regular church goers and those who we never see.  My heart was overflowing with joy for this day, this opportunity to enter into worship with joy and praise.  I still find it so mystifying and marvelous that God himself would take on flesh, dwell among us, learn to understand our struggles and would courageously accept the role of bearing our sin.  My brain cannot wrap itself around that level of wondrous love, and everlasting compassion.

Yes, He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!  It is great to say that… to acknowledge victory of Jesus over the power of sin, the power of death and the grave… for he did not remain there.  He is Alive.  Easter has always been my most favorite holidays of the church calendar   Having been raised Russian Orthodox the focus of lent was on holy week…the last supper, the arrest, the trials, the beatings, the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection.  While food and celebration occurred, the focus was not on that but on Jesus.  It was all about his greatest sacrifice, of the eternal transaction that would impact the world.

Again I realized how precious it is to say I know Jesus, and talk with him daily.  But i have to tell you about a post I read on Facebook that fixated my attention and startled me awake…. a younger woman i once worked with wrote this Sunday on her page.

“Happy Easter to all the Christians today.  I am so thankful that the Lord was starved, beaten, nailed to a cross and risen on the third day so that I could sin today by stuffing my face with an unGodly amount of food and wine while millions starve.  So Blessed. :)”

I sat there fixated on the screen wondering “Is this how the world understands Resurrection Sunday?”  “Is this what we have become?  A form of sacred mingled with large amounts of the profane?

Two days later i am still praying through those comments, and asking for wisdom to know what to say.  Yes, I think this comment demands a response, and a response that will not further repel her from Christianity.  And that got me to wondering….. What am I telling others about Jesus through how I live my life?  Is my faith strong, and my witness clear? Or is it a muddied situation that leads to these obviously hostile viewpoints?  And how can we gather together to celebrate the single greatest event in history and then discover that so many in our own country have grown unchurched, post christian, cynical of faith, doubters of truth.

This little message was a kind of wake up call.  A reminder that we must live our faith out in our lives in ways that do not look ambiguous or confusing.  Not watering down the gospel, or the power of Christ in our lives in any way, we must take the liberty to share our hope with the world.  And on a personal level I must be asking God for clarity and open doors to speak with those who do not have the hope.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.  Pray also for me,that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.

– Ephesians 6:18-19

So this is my prayer today… for myself, and for you.  May we, like the early church, turn this world upside down with the message of our Risen Savior and His Great Love For Us through the power of God living in our lives!  May we see many people come to understand the great hope we have, and not misunderstand it so badly.  For the power of the Easter message is a personal invitation to know your God.




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