Daily Archives: April 21, 2014

(RNS) Can you question the Resurrection and still be a Christian?

As Easter approaches, many Christians struggle with how to understand the Resurrection. How literally must one take the Gospel story of Jesus’ triumph to be called a Christian? Can one understand the Resurrection as a metaphor ”” perhaps not even believe it happened at all ”” and still claim to be a follower of Christ?

The struggle keeps some Christians from fully embracing the holiday. A 2010 Barna poll showed that only 42 percent of Americans said the meaning of Easter was Jesus’ resurrection; just 2 percent identified it as the most important holiday of their faith.

“More people have problems with Easter because it requires believing that Jesus rose from the dead,” said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author of the new book, “Jesus: A Pilgrimage.”

“But believing in the Resurrection is essential. It shows that nothing is impossible with God. In fact, Easter without the Resurrection is utterly meaningless. And the Christian faith without Easter is no faith at all.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Apologetics, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Eschatology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Archbishop John Sentamu's Easter Message in The Sun on Sunday

At Easter, our faith in the God revealed in Jesus Christ means we have to be prepared and willing to take a risk. Making a fresh start is never easy. Yesterday, I was waist deep in a pool outside the Minster baptising people who decided to follow Jesus who died and rose from the dead. There was a huge crowd and a fantastic welcome as these brave souls took the step of being baptised, and starting a new life with God. Don’t underestimate the bravery of souls who choose to make this very public statement of their living faith today.

But we are blessed to live in the light of the events after Easter Day. We know the transformation that takes place, of the changes that are possible. Think of the Easter garden. It is a garden which is restored and transformed by the presence of Jesus of Nazareth. On Easter Day Mary Magdalene learnt so much about how sorrow was turned into joy, poverty of spirit into generosity, fear into hope and despair into trust. The physicality of the Resurrection of Christ means that things material matter to God. Bodies matter. The physical world matters.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter

Peter Moore–A Review of the feature film: “God is (not) Dead”

Read it all (page 8).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Apologetics, Christology, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture, Theology

Old St. Andrew's Church survives disease, fire, war and decay to rise again in Charleston

Birth. Life. Death. Rebirth. So goes the biblical story of Christ, the essence of life as Christians view it and even the Holy City’s own history.

It’s also the story of a parish born into tribulation, a little country church that endured to prosper through seasons of indigo, rice and slavery only to face death after the Civil War. And then rise again.

Commonly known as Old St. Andrew’s Parish, family names of Drayton, Middleton, Heyward, Pinckney and Rivers buttress its three centuries of stories….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

The Dean of Durham's 2014 Easter Sermon–The Truth by Which we Live and Die ”“ and Live.

What difference does it make that Christ is risen? I’m not asking what difference we would like it to make: I guess we want resurrection to be the answer to our questions, the happy ending to all our doubts and fears. I’ve spoken about ”˜before’ and ”˜after’, but I don’t mean that Easter is closure. Far from it: it pulls us into new journeys whose end we can never predict. So how does Easter change everything?

What it doesn’t do is to wind back the clock, as if this wilting daffodil could somehow regain its freshness and vitality. It’s the opposite. Easter winds the clock forward to the time where there will be a new heaven and a new earth, where everything we know is transformed. The Easter garden where Jesus comes to Mary and calls her by name ”“ this is the paradise that an ageing, hurting world has looked forward to since time began. She thinks he is the gardener, and of course he is, exactly that, the divine Gardener who by rising on the first day of the week has begun to re-make creation and bring beauty out of ashes. And this new Eden is our destiny as human beings caught up in the renewal of creation that is Easter. Our first reading said: ”˜when Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory’. It is coming, yet it has already begun: with Mary in the garden, with the disciples Jesus greets, with those who have not seen yet believed, with all who worship and love and follow him on this Easter Day.

For Easter takes our fear away, and gives us back our lives.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

Jerri Savuto–Easter Memories: Escaping the Commercial Trap

As I am in the US for the first time in many years, I find myself longing for the simplicity of Maua, Kenya, during Easter time. There Easter has none of the commercial trappings we find here. As I enter grocery stores, discount stores, and department stores I am shocked at the amount of space taken by the Easter candy, bunnies and stuffed animals, baskets, decorations, and new spring clothing. These items take more space than any grocery store has for all their goods in Maua.

I recently read that an estimated $2 billion will be spent on Easter candy this year in the US. Two billion dollars to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who asked us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give water to the thirsty, house the homeless, care for the sick and imprisoned, and welcome the stranger.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Consumer/consumer spending, Easter, Economy, Globalization, Kenya, Methodist, Missions, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

An Easter Carol

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right.
Faith and Hope triumphant say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.

While the patient earth lies waking,
Till the morning shall be breaking,
Shuddering ‘neath the burden dread
Of her Master, cold and dead,
Hark! she hears the angels say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.
And when sunrise smites the mountains,
Pouring light from heavenly fountains,
Then the earth blooms out to greet
Once again the blessed feet;
And her countless voices say,
Christ has risen on Easter-Day.

Up and down our lives obedient
Walk, dear Christ, with footsteps radiant,
Till those garden lives shall be
Fair with duties done for Thee;
And our thankful spirits say,
Christ arose on Easter-Day.

–Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Episcopal Church (TEC), Poetry & Literature

The Heidelberg Catechism on Easter

Question 45: What does the “resurrection” of Christ profit us?

Answer: First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, that he might make us partakers of that righteousness which he had purchased for us by his death; secondly, we are also by his power raised up to a new life; and lastly, the resurrection of Christ is a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection.

Footnotes: [For “first”] 1 Cor.15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: Rom.4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 1 Pet.1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [for “secondly’] Rom.6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Col.3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Col.3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Eph.2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Eph.2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [for “lastly”] 1 Cor.15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 1 Cor.15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 1 Cor.15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. Rom.8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Eschatology, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Make our hearts to burn within us, O Christ, as we walk with thee in the way and listen to thy words; that we may go in the strength of thy presence and thy truth all our journey through, and at its end behold thee, in the glory of the eternal Trinity, God for ever and ever.

–Eric Milner-White (1884-1963)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast””unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

–1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) In pictures: Christians across the world celebrate Easter 2014

Look at them all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Globalization, Photos/Photography

John Donne–Easter Faith that Sustains

If I had a Son in Court, or married a daughter into a plentifull Fortune, I were satisfied for that son or that daughter. Shall I not be so, when the King of Heaven hath taken that sone to himselfe, and married himselfe to that daughter, for ever? I spend none of my Faith, I exercise none of my Hope, in this, that I shall have my dead raised to life againe. This is the faith that sustains me, when I lose by the death of others, and we, are now all in one Church, and at the resurrection, shall be all in one Quire.

”“John Donne (1572-1631) [my emphasis]

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Eschatology, Theology