Papua New Guinea Proverb: “Knowledge is only a rumor until it is in the muscle.”
Easter for me was an extraordinary experience this year. The art…the music…the cardboard sign testimonies…all conspired to fill my heart to overflowing with hope and a sense that God’s final word is life and in the end death will be no more. But then Monday happened. I don’t know what your Monday was like, but mine was a bit of “back to the routine”. Except this time, I resisted. No. Easter changes everything. It is not an event. It is a new reality. It is God’s kingdom present, yet not apprehended through our five senses. It is present through the eye of faith—AND—action.
Easter changed everything for Jesus’ disciples and followers. Their spiritual and emotional state was transformed in ways they could not have imagined. If you’ve ever experienced a spiritual awakening it is like no other experience I’ve ever had and the only way I can describe it is like going from black and white TV to digital color. The challenge is that spiritual awakenings are fragile and will wither and die if the experience is not reinforced by repeated action so that new habits are formed in our literal and spiritual muscles. This is where it all breaks down. Over the past thirty-five years at St. Andrew, I’ve witnessed real and significant spiritual awakenings during our Easter services. The Spirit is moving people and they are responding. But within 4-6 weeks the awakening is but a distant memory, often to be repeated the next Easter with no real change in the person’s life. The same self-destructive behaviors continue and we remain stuck in our shame and broken lives.
The exceptions are the people who actually do what the Bible teaches. They put their spiritual awakening into action. That’s exactly what Jesus did for his followers: He gave them a job and to my knowledge that is still our job as his followers today. We will go and be witnesses to the ends of the earth of the new reality of Christ in us and through us. When we act, the knowledge of God goes from being a rumor to living in the muscle.
Acts 1:1-11 (TEV)
Dear Theophilus: In my first book I wrote about all the things that Jesus did and taught from the time he began his work until the day he was taken up to heaven. Before he was taken up, he gave instructions by the power of the Holy Spirit to the men he had chosen as his apostles. For forty days after his death he appeared to them many times in ways that proved beyond doubt that he was alive. They saw him, and he talked with them about the Kingdom of God. And when they came together, he gave them this order: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised. John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
When the apostles met together with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time give the Kingdom back to Israel?” Jesus said to them, “The times and occasions are set by my Father’s own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After saying this, he was taken up to heaven as they watched him, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They still had their eyes fixed on the sky as he went away, when two men dressed in white suddenly stood beside them and said, “Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven.”
See you Sunday. Here’s what I have on my desk…
THE CARRTUNES ARE COMING TO ST. ANDREW!
Join us on Saturday evening, April 29th, 5:00 to 8:00 PM, for a great night of music performed by The Carrtunes. For those of you who would like to join us for a fun, appetizer party ($25 per couple/$15 per person), come at 5:00 PM! Three members of our own church are in this musical group. Bring a friend and let’s fill the house to support them and the youth group! A free-will offering will be taken to support our Youth Group’s Summer Mission Trip to San Diego—Caravan 2017.
YOUNG LIFE IS LOOKING FOR ADULTS WHO WOULD LIKE TO BE “TWEEBS!” ON MONDAY, MAY 1ST! A “tweeb” is a person who is “planted” in a public establishment enjoying themselves between 7:00-8:45 PM on the evening of May 1st. (Possible places are— Baskin Robbins, a gas station, the post office, local restaurants and many more!). The teenagers from Young Life are split up into groups with an adult driver. They are given clues and drive around downtown Sonoma trying to find as many “tweebs” as they can in the shortest time period. The “tweebs” give out tokens to the youth who find them, and the group with the most tokens wins! Questions, or to sign up, please contact Jean McQuady: [email protected] or Diana Booker-Spry: [email protected] or Check the box on your Communication Card this sunday if interested.