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E-gram April 20, 2015

This morning we sang that God's Grace is Enough. And then, with the choir's help, we began our learning of a song about our hope that because Christ was raised from the dead that

We Will Rise too. We also heard a sermon based on Paul's words about the resurrection.

God raised Jesus from the dead. If this is not so then there is no faith at all. We might as well do whatever we want regardless of who it harms because we have just this one shot at life. But, if the resurrected Christ points to our own resurrection, then we pledge our bodies to Christ's service. We restrain our impulses, and discipline our appetites so that we offer no impediment for anyone else to embrace God's forgiveness.

We do not throw stones

AND we give no cause for others to throw stones at us.

We are increasingly surrounded by people who do not believe in a resurrection and are taking whatever they can get from this life. If they have children at all, they are not raising them with a grounded faith or desire to pursue wisdom. We will bear witness to this increasingly secular culture and the stock answers Christians have been prone to give are not going to work:

Well, my bible says....

God said it. I believe it. That settles it.

I was always taught that....

And the all time cheese award winning response:

I've read the back of the book and we win!

These judgmental ways of talking are not commendable. They are unattractive and only demonstrate that we too are not placing ourselves before God's word to be instructed, shaped and reformed.

The compelling and ministering answers we need are seen in actions every bit as much as words: the love we show to enemies as well as neighbors and family; the hope-filled approach that marks us as we face inevitable suffering, our loving service given to strangers and refugees and widows and orphans, our not calling attention to ourselves as we offer a cup of cold water; and our readiness to organize life to be spent by the God who gives us all things.

North Danvers Mennonite Church is underway in following Jesus, being led by his word, and offering service to others!

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