Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tending to the Other Sheep -- A Sermon

John 10:11-18
As far as I know, none of us here has direct experience at being a shepherd.  Whatever we know about sheep and shepherding probably comes from books, movies, and our imaginations.  But, large numbers of people living in the ancient world did know a lot about sheep and shepherding, and so we shouldn’t be surprised to find both images present in the biblical story.  There is David the Shepherd King, and Jesus the Good Shepherd.  One of the most beloved passages of Scripture is the 23rd Psalm, which declares: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want . . .”  
For many, the image of sheep and shepherds is rather serene and comforting.  If you Google Jesus and shepherd, you’ll find lots If you Google the words Jesus and shepherd you’ll find lots of pictures of a smiling Jesus surrounded by adoring sheep.  But, as both the 23rd Psalm and John 10 remind us, the life of the shepherd is anything but peaceful and serene.  There are wolves seeking to scatter and devour the sheep, and the shepherd has to stand firm.  The shepherd also must lead the flock to find food and water.  There also thieves who try to sneak in by climbing the fence to steal the sheep.    
Even though the hired hands, who have nothing invested in the sheep, flee in the face of danger, the Good Shepherd stands firm, even if it means death. 
A passage of Scripture like John 10 has a context.  There’s a lot going on behind the scenes of this text, and it seems clear from this passage that John’s community is living under duress.  There are thieves and wolves, prowling about, seeking either to steal or to destroy the sheep of the pasture.   
The Good Shepherd, who is Jesus, on the other hand, comes into our midst, offering to us abundant life.  Jesus says to us, I know my flock, and they know my voice.  When I call out to them, they will come and follow me.  They can trust my voice, and won’t scatter when I approach. 
Yes, there is a lot going on in this passage.  It’s clear that John is concerned about the future of his community.  There are forces intent on dividing this community, and so John points us to Jesus, the Shepherd, who lays down his life for his people, but then takes it up again so that he can continue serving as the shepherd of the flock of God.  
  The words that stood out to me in this passage are found in verse 16:    
I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen.  I must lead them too.  They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd.
As I read these words, I wondered – what does Jesus, the Good Shepherd  want us to hear in these words? 
Who are these other sheep, whom Jesus seeks to bring into the one flock, so that he can be the one shepherd over the entire flock? 
There’s one answer that I’ve always had fun with, though I’m not convinced of its veracity.  Mormons look to this passage as proof for their belief, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, that after his resurrection, Jesus paid a visit to his followers living in the Americas.  If that interpretation “floats your boat,” then more power to you.  I just think there are other more logical options.  
One option is the Gentile mission.  If so, then Jesus speaks here of his desire to bring both Jew and Gentile into the fold.  I think that this is a very fruitful interpretation, and there is much truth to it.  By the time that John writes, the church is increasingly Gentile and there is a danger that the church could split along Jewish/Gentile lines. 
It’s also possible that John is thinking about how a later generation of believers is part of that original flock.
Or perhaps John has the danger of factionalism in mind, and so this is another expression of John’s concern for the unity of the church.  We see this expressed so very clearly in Jesus’ prayer in the Garden, where just prior to his arrest, he prays: 
I pray they will be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  I pray that they also will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. (Jn. 17:21 CEB).  
As we seek to hear Jesus’ voice in our own time, this prayer for unity is an apt one.  By the end of the first century, when John writes his gospel, the Christian community has become increasingly diverse.  Parties are forming.  Various theologies are emerging.  The church is fragmenting, and John believes that this is a problem.  He’s concerned that there are thieves and wolves prowling about seeking to destroy the community.  
Partisanship isn’t a new phenomenon, but we seem to be living at a time of increasing polarization.  People are losing faith in government, in business, and in the church.  Many are tired of dealing with factions and partisans, who seek to gain power over others.   Every poll and survey suggests that large numbers of younger people are simply walking away from the church.  They’re turned off by partisanship and bickering. 
  If Jesus has other sheep to tend to, who might these other flocks be?  In verse 16, we hear Jesus say to us: “They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock, with one shepherd.”  
So what are some of these lines of separation that divide and perhaps destroy, fences that Jesus seeks to remove so that the two flocks might be one?
  • Protestant and Catholic
  • Liberal and Conservative
  • Evangelical and Mainline
  • Black and White
  • Asian and Latino
  • Young and Old
  • Gay and Straight
  • Church member and non-member
We could add others. 
In that prayer that Jesus offers in the Garden, he asks that his followers might be one, even as he is one with the Father.  In this passage, Jesus says that there is one flock, and that he knows the sheep, and they know his voice.  We are people of the Spirit.  Jesus knows our names, and we seek to know his voice, but even as we seek to know his voice it is important to remember that there maybe other flocks to whom he is speaking.  
In this regard, Scott Williamson writes these compelling words:
The love of Christ compels us to listen for Jesus’ voice as it is heard by our brothers and sisters outside our fold.  Then and only then will we be able to share in God’s love for them. (Preaching God's Transforming Justicep. 21).  
Jesus’ flock is bigger than this congregation, bigger than the Disciples of Christ, bigger than Protestantism.  I dare say, it is likely bigger than any of our categories.  It is easy for us to confuse our particular sheepfold, with the entirety of Jesus’ flock.  But, Jesus reminds us that he has other sheep, whom he has called, and who know his voice.  He is their shepherd, even as he is our shepherd.  And we are brought together as one flock as we listen for Jesus’ voice as others hear this voice.  This happens, as we allow the Spirit to move in our midst, interpreting those voices for us.   
The listening campaign, which I spoke of last week, is one of the ways, in which I believe Jesus will help us listen for his voice in the voices of others in our congregation and in our community.  And as we listen for this voice and find our unity in the presence of the Good Shepherd, we will discover the abundance that is ours to share.  
As all four gospels remind us, Jesus took a few loaves of bread and a few fish, gave thanks, and distributed the food.  Even though the crowd numbered in the thousands, everyone ate and was satisfied.  
Yes, the Lord is our shepherd and we shall not want.  For: 
You set a table for me right in front of my enemies. You bathe my head in oil; my cup is so full it spills over! Yes, goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the LORD ’s house as long as I live.  (Ps. 23:5-6 CEB)
Indeed, we shall all live in the Lord’s house together as one flock, with one shepherd, as we listen for his voice and follow it!  
Preached by: Dr. Robert D. Cornwall Pastor, Central Woodward Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Troy, Michigan April 28, 2012 4th Sunday of Easter

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Telling Stories -- A Sermon

Luke 24:36b-48

When Brett was young, I enjoyed reading stories to him, which meant that I had permission to read Cat in the Hat, Go Dogs Go, and Run Away Bunny, among others.  If you’ve read Run Away Bunny did you hear the theological message that’s present in this story?  It starts this way:

Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away.
So he said to his mother, “I am running away.”
“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you.
For you are my little bunny.

The bunny tries to come up with a variety of ways in which to escape, but the Mother Bunny always has an answer, and in the end the Bunny decides to stay home.  Now we could have a conversation about the importance of children leaving the nest, but when we read this story theologically it reminds us that no matter what we do, God will be there for us.    

Since it’s still Easter, we continue to hear stories about Jesus’ resurrection appearances.  This morning Luke tells a story that’s similar to that of John.  Once again we hear that Jesus appears to a frightened group of disciples.  They don’t seem to know what the future holds, but they seem powerless and discouraged.  At that moment Jesus appears in their midst and greets them with the words:  “Peace Be With You!”  

Jesus not only appears to them, but he brings them a message.  Although they continue to have doubts and concerns, he has a job for them, and it’s a job that they’ve passed on to us. After Jesus opens the minds of the disciples to the meaning of the scriptures that pointed to his death, his resurrection, and the ongoing ministry of his followers, he commissions them to preach to the nations, in his name, a message of forgiveness.  They’re to start in Jerusalem and continue on from there – after they receive the power of the Holy Spirit.    

If Luke means for us to place our selves into this story, how shall we, living as we do in 21st Century South East Michigan, hear this call to be Jesus’ witnesses?  What story do we have to tell to our neighbors that will make a difference in their lives?   Yesterday we hosted the Metro Coalition of Congregations’s Leadership Training Conference.  The purpose of this event was to help congregations build a team of leaders that would organize a listening campaign that will help strengthen the congregation, connect congregations with other congregations, so that together we can identify issues of concern in our communities, whether they are foreclosure, schools, jobs, and then speak with power to community leaders.  This is called “congregation-based organizing.”  It is community organizing that is rooted in our faith.  It draws upon a principle articulated by Martin Luther King, who reminded that church that it’s neither the master nor the servant of the state, “but it is the conscience of the state.”  When we join together as people of faith, and speak to those in power, out of values that are deeply rooted in our faith, including Jesus call to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, we can make a difference in our communities.   

Bill O’Brien, in his presentation yesterday, spoke of two “dirty words”:  Power and self-interest.  Although power is dangerous, it is essential to get things done.  The question is – how will power be used?  Is power something we use to control others or to benefit others?  Bill reminded us that power is rooted in relationships.  In congregation-based organizing congregations join together to speak with power to the concerns of our communities out of values that are formed by our faith.     

The other word is self-interest, which isn’t the same thing as selfishness.  It’s not about gaining power for ourselves at the expense of others.  Instead it is reaching out to others from our own gifts and calling and passions.  Remember, we’re to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  If we ignore our “self” then we will ignore the other.  After all, we’re in this together!    

Although I was involved in the founding of this organization, I know that its success depends on congregations getting excited about it and then joining forces to be the conscience of our communities.  This isn’t just a clergy thing.  It’s a congregational thing.  Yesterday was the third training event, and it was designed to lead to the launch of a six-week listening campaign in our congregations, that will begin on May 19th.  

The four people who participated in yesterday’s event will be forming a team of ten to fifteen people who will attend a training event on the 19th, after which they will begin making appointments with you, the members and friends of this congregation, to do what is called a “one on one.”  A “one on one” is a thirty minute face to face intentional conversation.  It will focus on two major questions – who are you and what are your concerns?  That is, they’re designed to build relationships and then discover the issues that are on the hearts and minds of each of us.   Then, in July, we will participate in an Issues Convention, where we’ll share reports from the participating congregations about what we believe are the most pressing issues of our day.  And from that meeting we’ll pick two or three issues to focus on.  They could be anything from foreclosure to schools.  Then we’ll begin formulating a plan that will include another even larger public meeting, probably in October, where we’ll meet with political leaders, bringing to the conversation the combined power of our congregations, so we can be the conscience of the community.      

Yesterday Cheryl, Anne, Rick, and Diana, participated in this training.  They will be working together to form this team of 10 to 15 people, who will be setting up these “one-on-ones.”  I’d like for them to come forward to be recognized, and if they feel comfortable, share their story about what they experienced yesterday and their expectation of what is to come. 

[The Leadership Team’s Stories]

Now, I’d like to have us join in a very brief exercise that one of my colleagues shared with me.  I’m going to take a risk here, and invite you to turn to your neighbor and briefly share two things.  First what is your passion.  What gets you excited about in life?  It might be the Tigers or knitting.  And then, share something about how God is at work in your life.  

[Telling our stories!]

This is just a taste of what is to come, as we discern how to best live out our calling to be a missional congregation.  My prayer is that as we tell our stories, we will experience the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, so that we might bear witness to the redeeming and restorative power of the Resurrection.

Preached by:
Dr. Robert D. Cornwall
Pastor, Central Woodward Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Troy, Michigan
April 22, 2012
3rd Sunday of Easter

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Are You Sure?

John 20:19-31

I like Thomas.  He’s my kind of guy.  He asks good questions and pushes the right buttons.  He’s a realist and an empiricist.  So, when he hears that Jesus is risen, he wants to believe, but he also asks: “Are you sure?”  

Thomas has gotten an unfortunate nickname, but is it fair to keep calling him “Doubting Thomas?”  After all, he didn’t ask for anything that the other disciples hadn’t already received.  Besides, the other disciples didn’t accept Mary Magdalene’s testimony, so why should he believe them? 

Back in the 18th century, David Hume suggested that we should be skeptical of claims that don’t fit with normal human experience, and that led Hume to question many religious claims including the resurrection, because there simply isn’t any evidence from normal human experience to support these claims.  And I expect that even if you believe in the resurrection, you’ve embraced at least some of Hume’s principles.   For instance, how many of you believe in UFOs, Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster?  As for me – despite the claims made on TV – until I see better evidence than some blurry photos, I’m going to remain skeptical!  In fact, I’m skeptical of a lot of things I read and hear – especially stuff that gets passed around in e-mails.  I’m a big fan of Snopes!

So why should we blame Thomas for asking for proof?

Perhaps you have come here today with your own questions.  If so, do you feel like you can share them openly, without fear of ridicule?  Do you find this church to be a safe place to explore your questions?   I ask this because polls suggest that many people, especially younger people don’t feel like the church is a safe place to explore  questions that range from the resurrection to the idea that God is loving and just.  They want to know why the wicked prosper and the good suffer?

    We all have our own set of questions.  Yes, even the pastor has questions.

Now, I must admit that I’ve never been faced with the prospect of walking away from my faith.  Maybe that’s because I’ve been in the church all my life or because I’ve had conversation partners who have given me safe-harbor to deal with my questions.  Not everyone has been as fortunate as I.        

I may have never faced the prospect of walking away from my faith, but my faith has evolved, considerably.  The way I understand and practice my faith today is very different from what it was when I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church at age twelve or when I was rebaptized at age seventeen at a Pentecostal camp, or even when I was ordained at age twenty-seven.  The Thomas within me has continually pressed me forward, raising questions that may not always get fully resolved, but I remain comfortable with my faith, even as it changes.   

But not every journey is like mine.  Some of you have had deeper struggles. Maybe it’s because you’ve not had a safe place to explore those questions.  Maybe your life experiences have proven overwhelming?  Perhaps you were hurt or abused by a faith community.  And as a result you felt like you had to walk away.  This is true for many.  On the other hand, maybe you grew up outside a faith community.  This is true for many young adults today.     

Whatever our story might be, I think we can find meaning for our lives in Thomas’ story.   Although Thomas’s story is often read in a way that can lead us to believe that God is uncomfortable with questions, and that Jesus is scolding Thomas for asking for proof, is this the best way to hear this story?  Jesus never called him “Doubting Thomas.”  That’s our nickname for him.   

What if Jesus isn’t scolding or ridiculing Thomas?  What if John tells this story, including Jesus’ response to Thomas’ confession of faith, in order to encourage later Christians, like us, who are called upon to believe without having experienced first hand the presence of the Risen Christ?  Thomas is blessed by his experience with Jesus, but so are we, even if our experience of Jesus is of a very different order?  

Jesus calls us to walk with him even if we still have our questions and doubts.  He invites us to bring them with us, so we can wrestle with them together as a community, and in this journey we find blessing and happiness and joy.   

Diana Butler Bass has written a new book, Christianity After Religion, in which she suggests that we’re in a time of spiritual awakening.  Old patterns of faith, which she calls religion, are giving way to new spiritual patterns.  In the old order, things started with belief and then moved to behavior, and if you believed and you behaved – correctly – then you belonged.  In this new order, people seek a place to belong, and then as they learn patterns of behavior, including spiritual practices like prayer and table fellowship, then they begin to believe.  And the goal here is not affirming a set of doctrines, but rather it involves entrusting one’s life to God’s care.  In this new order belief is not about having the right opinion on certain matters of religion, but instead, it means giving our loyalty, our trust, our heart, to another – namely to God.  It’s less about the mind and more the heart.  Faith is rooted in experiencing the presence of God.  And what is the proof of its truth?  It is the way we live before God.  It is the quality of our life – how we treat our neighbor.  Diana writes that “spiritual experience initiates the well-lived life; the well-lived life confirms the nature of one’s spiritual experience” (p. 126).   This doesn’t mean that our intellectual questions don’t matter.  But the proof is found in how we live out our lives in the presence of God.     

When Thomas sees Jesus, he doesn’t reach out and touch him. Instead he cries out:  “My Lord and my God.”  In making this confession, Thomas recognizes that it is in Jesus that he encounters the presence of God.  This confession reaches back to Jesus’ words to Thomas  in John 14:7 – “If you have really known me, you will also know the Father.  From now on you know him and have seen him” (CEB).  This encounter changes Thomas’s life.  According to Tradition, he takes the gospel to India, where you will find to this day Mar Thoma churches that date back centuries.  Something happened to his life.    

We might not have everything figured out, but even with doubts and questions in tow, we can receive the word Jesus shares with the disciples as they gathered that evening on the first day of week, the day of Resurrection, when he appeared to them, saying:   “Peace be with you.  As the Father sent me, so I am sending you” (vs. 22).   After he said this to them, he then breathed upon them the Holy Spirit and empowered them to forgive sins.   

We live with our questions, but these questions don’t bar us from belonging to the community or loving our neighbor or feeding the hungry.  As we join together as God’s people, sharing in the unity of the Spirit which Jesus breathes upon the disciples, we find strength for the journey.  This sense of unity of the spirit is described in Acts 4, where Luke says that “the community of believers was one in heart and mind” (vs. 32).   He also says that they shared everything in common and no one was in need, as the “Apostles continued to bear witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and an abundance of grace was among them all.”  (Acts 4:34).  In other words, the evidence of their faith was seen in the quality of their lives, lives marked by an abundance of grace.

May we as God’s Resurrection People find in Jesus that abundance of grace, which builds a community that is “one in heart and mind.”  

 Preached by:
Dr. Robert D. Cornwall
Pastor, Central Woodward Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Troy, Michigan
April 15, 2012
2nd Sunday of Easter

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Why the Silence? An Easter Sermon

Mark 16:1-8

Easter has finally arrived in all its glory, and we’ve come here this morning to lift our voices to God in praise.  We come to celebrate the good news that the tomb is empty and that Jesus is risen from the dead.  Death has lost its sting.  Upon hearing this good news we get to sing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” and “Crown him with Many Crowns.”  We’ve heard the trumpet sound and we’ve shouted in response: “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!”

This is indeed good news!  Or as Paul tells the Corinthians, this is a message of first importance to be passed on from one generation to the next (1 Cor. 15).  

And so, in the words of an ancient hymn penned by St. John of Damascus:
Now let the heavens be joyful!
Let the earth its song begin! 
The world resound in triumph, and all that is therein;
let all things seen and unseen, their notes of gladness blend;
for Christ the Lord has risen, our joy that has no end. (Chalice Hymnal, 228).  
The message is clear.  God has acted on our behalf, swallowing up death forever, so that we might have joy without end (Isa. 25:6-9).

Our guide this morning to the Easter story is the Gospel of Mark, which is brief, to the point, and ends abruptly.  Like a canceled TV show that ends in a cliff-hanger, we’re left wondering what happened next.  There has to be more to the story, and yet Mark doesn’t resolve the tension.  

It’s true that there are other endings to Mark’s gospel, but they don’t appear to be original, though they do suggest that many early Christians found Mark’s ending to be less than satisfying.  We can fill in the gaps with the other gospel accounts, but perhaps Mark ends his resurrection story in this way for a reason.  Although it’s possible that there was once an original fuller ending that somehow got lost, but what if Mark wanted to end the story with the women fleeing the empty tomb in fear, saying nothing to anyone.  If that’s the way Mark intended to end his story, what does this say to you?  What is the message Mark wants us to hear?  

If we’re going to answer this question about what Mark has in mind by ending the story as he does, we might want to go back to the beginning.  Mark opens his gospel with these words: “The Beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ, God’s son, happened just as it was written about in the prophecy of Isaiah.” (Mk 1:1-2a).  Mark begins with the promise of a messenger who will prepare the way for the Lord.  This first messenger who prepares for the Lord is John the Baptist, who baptizes Jesus, and helps launch his ministry.  But, at the end of the story, there’s a different messenger who prepares the way for the Lord.  The question is – are we ready to follow the directions given to  us by this second messenger who appears in the tomb of Jesus?    

Mark 16 begins with three women heading toward the tomb where Jesus was placed after he died on Good Friday.  According to Mark’s account, the soldier’s nailed him to the cross and joined the crowd in mocking him.  After hours of suffering, Jesus cried out to God “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.”  Then, giving into the suffering, he died.  

After he dies, Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy and powerful man who was sympathetic to Jesus’ ministry went to Pilate and got permission to take the body and place it in his own tomb.  Had he not done this then it’s likely that the soldiers would have thrown Jesus’ body the dogs, which was the normal way of disposing with those who were crucified.  Joseph had to hurry because the Sabbath was about to begin.  There wasn’t time to fully prepare the body for burial, so that would have to wait until after the Sabbath. 

According to Mark,  two women watched this take place, including Mary Magdalene, who now joined two other women in going to the tomb to finish the burial preparations.  After they had gathered up their spices early on Easter Morning, they the headed for the tomb.  As they neared the tomb, they remembered that a large stone sealed the entrance.  How were they going to open up the tomb?  In the end it didn’t matter.  They wouldn’t need a crew to roll the stone away, because the tomb was already open.     

The sight of the open tomb startled them, but instead of running back home to where the rest of the disciples were hiding, they entered the tomb.  To their horror, they discovered that the body of Jesus was missing.  
If these women were like any of us, they had to be wondering – who stole the body?  You know the feeling.  Something is missing.  You know exactly where you put it.  Mary Magdalene had seen the tomb and knew she was at the right place.  So somebody took the body.    

As they frantically scanned the empty tomb, they saw this young man sitting there to their right.  Now they really were frightened.  Seeing their despair, the young man reaches out to them and tries to calm them down.  He says:  “Don’t be alarmed.”   Why is it that every time there’s a visitation like this, the first thing the messenger says is: Don’t be alarmed; or, Don’t be afraid?   

I don’t know if he succeeded in calming them down, but he continued with his message.   You’re looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified and was laid here.  Obviously, as you can see, he’s not here.   This they already knew.  What they wanted to know was – where is the body.  Show us the body!  His answer is simple  –“He’s been raised.”  

Now, what did this mean?  Yes, Jesus had been talking about dying and rising from the dead, but none of that had made sense to anyone.  Things like this just happen every day.  People die, they get buried – that’s the end of the story.  But on this day things were different.  Although the women, who had demonstrated great faithfulness in their discipleship, more so than any of the men – all of whom remained in hiding – couldn’t comprehend the gravity of their situation.  

But the messenger isn’t finished.  He tells them that they must go tell Peter and the disciples that Jesus will meet them in Galilee. Go and share the good news that Jesus is risen!     

After this commission is given, then the gospel closes with these words:   “Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb.  They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid” (vs 8 CEB).  

Why did they flee?  Why the silence?  

How would you have reacted to such news?  What would you make of the emptiness of the tomb and the message given by the young man?     

Like I said earlier, when you come to verse 8, you feel as if something is missing.  Surely the women said something to someone, but Mark simply ends the story with fearful silence.
In this earliest of all the gospels, there isn’t even one resurrection appearance.  There’s just an empty tomb and the promise of a reunion.  There are none of the appearances that Paul speaks of, nor does Jesus show off his wounds to a doubting Thomas.  There’s no breaking of bread at Emmaus, no great commission; there’s not even an ascension.  There’s just the promise that Jesus will meet them in Galilee.

   The silence, with which the gospel ends, seems deafening.  We want to know more.  But perhaps we have enough to go on.  Our friend Bruce Epperly writes that: “We don’t need the exact details of resurrection to believe that Christ is alive, unbound, and ever-present.” (Process and Faith).     

Could it be that the open-endedness of Mark’s gospel is an invitation to write our own story into Jesus’ resurrection story?  Could it be that Mark is inviting us to pick up where the women left off, even if we do so in fear and trembling?    

When it comes to Easter, we can get bogged down in the details.  We can argue about the differences between the way the gospels each tell their own story of the resurrection.  Then there are the modern questions of science and history that face us.  These are important questions, but the message of the moment is that Christ is alive.  Christ is present with us as we face the future.  God is, as Bruce points out: “working in all things to bring forth God’s shalom and inspire us toward partnership in healing the world.” 

So, where are we to meet Jesus?  This is the question of the day?  We have heard the calling to be a missional congregation.  We believe that Jesus is bringing life and peace and healing to the world through our participation in Head Start, Motown Mission, Gospel-in-Action Detroit, SOS, TIG, the Metropolitan Coalition of Congregations.  But it’s not just through these “sanctioned” activities, that we’re engaged in this partnership of healing.  Wherever we live out God’s love for the world, we are making known the presence of the living Christ – whether at work, in our neighborhoods, or our non-church volunteering.  As we live Christ-filled lives, the silence of the tomb is broken.  Therefore, let us boldly declare the good news that “Christ the Lord is risen Today!  Alleluia!”  Amen!

Preached by:
Dr. Robert D. Cornwall
Pastor, Central Woodward Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Troy, Michigan
Easter Sunday
April 8, 2012