Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

This will be a different Sunday at the Refuge. We will have only ONE SERVICE: 11am. There will be no 9:30 service. We do this so we can participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure each year. You can still sign up to be part of our team. Go here for info. The Race for the Cure is an awesome community event in Tucson, and it benefits a great cause.

If you want to catch up with us at the RACE, we meet around 7:45 at our regular location. If you face the stage at the amphitheater, we meet over by the trees directly to the left of the stage.

For worship, we begin a 3 (or more) week series that is really a VERY loose series of studies. I called Easter Sunday study "The Risen Christ" and this Sunday will be "The Indwelling Christ". I will not be preaching on April 26, but then on May 3 the theme will be "The Eternal Christ", and May 10 will be "Following the Living Christ". These topics all are sort of a "so what" about Easter: so what that Christ is living? How does that effect my life? How can I live in light of that? These are topics that I have been working through in my own spiritual journey recently.

The Scriptures for this week are:
John 14.15-18
John 15.1-17
John 16.7-8
Romans 8.9-11
Colossians 1.24-29

The worship bulletin is here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Meaning of Easter

There is usually much discussion in December about "the true meaning of Christmas", and there is not usually much discussion about the "true meaning of Easter". I think that is because Easter is very misunderstood. Christians are good when it comes to talking about the cross, but Easter turns into a muddle usually. Often the only real import given to Easter is that it demonstrates that God accepted Christ's sacrifice on the cross. In other words, the resurrection is a sort of "told you so" about the cross. I think there is MUCH MORE to it than that. This quote from NT Wright that I found on Mike DeVries' blog makes a good point about the resurrection.

As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and its meaning for this world...

For them [first century Jews], the idea of "resurrection" had, up to that point been quite simple. It was, they would have said, what would happen to everyone at the end - when everyone got through the tunnel to the other side, if you like, or when the day finally dawned and the Old Time was abolished for ever. Only gradually, and particularly when they met Jesus, with his body fully alive, indeed, more alive than it had ever been, because it had been through death and out the other side - only gradually did the realize what had happened. In his death, Jesus had taken all the sin and death and shame and sorrow of the world upon himself, so that by letting it do its worst to him he had destroyed its power, which means that now there is nothing to stop the new creation coming into being. Jesus' resurrection body is the first bit of the new creation, the sign of the new world that is to come. In terms of Good Friday as the sixth day, and Holy Saturday as the seventh day, the day when God rested after creation, the day when Jesus rested after redemption, Easter Day is the eighth day, the first day of the new week. This isn't the end; it's the beginning.

[Tom Wright, Christians at the Cross: Finding Hope in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, pp. 76-77]

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Prayer for Easter Sunday, April 12

Easter Sunday

Scripture for reflection: Mark 16:1-8

Reflection – Early in the Morning
The world is broken −
Darkened by the deeds of twisted hearts and vengeful hands.
The tears of God flood the earth and
Heart-break thunder roars in echo to the lightning.
The cry of ‘It is finished’ resounds across the hill
and funnels its way through the gates of the city wall.
‘It is finished,’ but it has only just begun.
Early in the morning, while mist lingers long,
Before the sun has chased the night away
Creation starts to sing, ‘The tomb is empty!’
Trees clap their hands, rivers gurgle with delight.
Birds chirp, ‘good news, good news!’
Redemptive creation has come to the world.

Prayer: Easter God,
I join today with others who praise you for the joyful message of resurrection. Thank
you for the unparalleled gift of Jesus, for the unquenchable love that you have
expressed through him. May I daily grow in knowledge of Jesus, the true Emperor
and Son of God. I also give thanks for the Lenten journey shared with you and
others. May the changes you have begun in me continue throughout my life. May the
kingdom you announced in Jesus continue to come nearer, through the movement
to overcome extreme poverty in our world. I pray that the money raised by Lent
Event will touch the lives of many in tangible and transformational ways. Amen.