As I sit down to write this I find myself thinking about Spring, despite the 4 inches of snow that have fallen in the last 48 hours. And with thoughts of Spring come thoughts of Easter and new life and resurrection (not surprising since Easter Sunday was only 3 days ago).
As I look at the world around me this Easter season I find that I am pressed to ask “What does resurrection mean in this place and time?”. In the face of financial struggles, a graying congregation and increasing costs, what does resurrection mean for Riverview? In the face of a dying forestry industry, aging infrastructure, and limited employment what does resurrection mean for Atikokan? In the face of warfare, economic globalization and political uncertainty, what does resurrection mean for the world?
To tell the truth I am not entirely sure what the answer to any of those questions is. Resurrection is hard to predict, both in time and in form. We don't get to choose when and how Easter breaks into our worlds. And this is both challenge and opportunity.
It is a challenge because we like to be in control. We like to believe that we can decide what the future will bring us. But we aren't in control. The challenge of resurrection is both that it comes up unexpectedly, unlooked for, like a thief in the night and that it comes in forms that we don't expect, sometimes can't even predict. Resurrection is not a matter of resuscitating what once was. It is not a return to the same-old way of being. It is a transforming experience, one that moves us
And once we give in to the lack of control we can find the opportunity. The transforming effect of resurrection provides an opportunity for an injection of hope into a world of despair. The opportunity to revision how we see ourselves as a church, a town, a global community lies waiting to be seized. Taking hold of this can be terrifying, it is always more comfortable to bring back what once was. The new is not the familiar.
The challenge I lay before all of us is this. Look for the signs of new life around us. Try to listen for God's call to experiment. Isaiah tells us of a God who says “Behold, I am doing something new”. What is the new thing God is doing here? Are we ready to try being people of abundant Life in ways that may be slightly or even extremely different than how “we have always done it”?
God calls us to resurrection. God doesn't necessarily call us to resuscitation of the old body. May God's transforming power be at work in us, both within the congregation and within Atikokan and within the global community of which we are a part.