A celebration of Easter without a prior descent into the grave is dishonest and naïve, just as observing Lent without the uncompromising proclamation of the Resurrection is hopeless.
The weight of Christian worship history testifies that the Sunday service is primarily a gathering of, and for, the faithful. This is not to say that we shouldn’t consider how our worship services can best speak in the language of our local contexts. It isn’t to say that we shouldn’t consider if our gatherings are marked with radical hospitality and welcome. But we gather in continuity with the first followers of Christ who found the tomb empty on Sunday.
Wesley knew how to be abased and how to abound. He intended, as did his brother John, to live all of life under God’s hand, whatever the circumstances of any given day.
We know that something is amiss with the world. Christmas Eve, oddly enough, confirms it. There is no pretending that life is some scene from Currier and Ives or a television special neatly presented in a two hour cable channel format. Life is not perfect. And we cannot seem to fix it despite best intentions, efforts, and desires. A part of the story of Christmas is that God is not happy with the way things are either. Thankfully, God is not interested in leaving us to our own devices. God has another way, a divine way, that challenges the human heart and mind to wake up to what God is trying to do in our midst.
Advent is primarily about looking through the baby in the manger to see Christ the King coming on the clouds in glory. The problem for Methodists is that, for decades, we did not have a single hymn in the Methodist hymnal that explicitly referenced the Lord’s physical return.
Familiarity sometimes breeds dullness. It’s true in the whole of life; it is especially true in the way we hear things and reflect on…
Several weeks ago, as I was running errands, I heard my two-year old son exclaim from the backseat of our car, “Oh my God!”…