The Lord has Risen!
We have proclaimed it together, and we have seen him at work. Our 40 Days culminated in a glorious Holy Week. On Palm Sunday, the children showed us the way as they “raised a hallelujah,” and we shared our first potluck in years (complete with cheesy potatoes!). Then on Monday in the Soup Kitchen, the Holv Tuesday concert on Tuesday. Wednesday at KID’S CLUB/Youth Group and Choir, worship on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and on Easter Sunday, we met the Risen Lord in power. He is risen indeed! Now we must decide to go where he sends us.
God’s ultimate purpose never changes; God is love and wants everyone to learn to receive and return it. We have received Jesus’ love so powerfully in our midst that we have been changed by it. Now we are called to love as we have been loved, reaching out to friends or enemies whether they deserve it or not or whether we want to. So we understand when God calls us to take up our cross and follow. God doesn’t need more experts or advisors: God needs more followers. That means us.
We who have been so greatly loved are called to act. It isn’t easy. Jesus’ way of peace and humility is not popular in this world. The way is difficult, and the travelers are few. It is a path of downward mobility, servant love, and winning by refusing to fight back. Most people do not want to follow this way. Speaking truth to power and refusing to participate in lies is not easy, even if they might help us further our agenda. But it is the only hope for the world.
I read a story somewhere long ago about the great baseball manager, Leo Durocher. Leo was once asked who the favorite player was that he had coached. Many were shocked when he named Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes was a little-known pinch hitter, not a big-name player. Durocher was asked, ‘What was so special about Dusty Rhodes?” He replied, ‘In a tight game, when I looked down the bench for a pinch hitter, some players would avert their gaze and refuse to look in my direction. But Dusty Rhodes would look me right in the eye, smile, and tap on his bat.” He was always available.
What a blessing to have a player who wanted to play, especially in big games. I know what it’s like to be the player who would avert his gaze in that pressure moment, but no longer. What we have is too valuable to waste by being afraid. My first Senior Pastor, Roger Richardson, said in a sermon almost 40 years ago something that stuck with me. He said God doesn’t want
volunteers. God wants disciples. Volunteers only work when they have time and change their minds to get a better offer. God made us be His instruments of love in his world and work like there is no other plan. So when Jesus looks down the bench at you, what does he see?
You’re no big-name player, let’s face it. But you know Jesus. You have seen him at work here, and you have been part of it. You are the perfect person to get in the game right now. Be who you were made to be. Your beloved has paid so much for you to be on his team. Now he is looking down the bench. His eyes rest on you. He needs a hitter. Be the one who looks him right back in the eye, tapping your bat. You have no idea how much game you’ve got until you get up and take a swing in Jesus’ Name. See for yourself. Don’t let fear keep you from serving; the Lord has Risen! Get out there. Step up to the plate. Stare down that fireball pitcher. He’s not so bad. Then take a significant cut—swing for the fence in the Name of love. I can’t wait to see how far you blast it. Be sure and come in and tell me all about it.
I’ll see you in Church,