It’s the second week of creation!

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Jesus said to them, “Do you have anything to eat?” – Luke 24:41

Since moving to North Carolina, we’ve had Easter sunrise ice, we’ve had Easter sunrise rain, and we’ve had Easter Sunrise “spring forward” time-change. This year we had clear skies and perfect temperatures. What a beautiful day.

IMG_8992Rebekah preached about another question Jesus asked, and this time it was, “Do you have anything to eat?” Sharing food together was a vital part of Christ’s public ministry, and he wanted to make sure that the deep intimacy of breaking bread together was not lost in the disciples’ new life together, moving forward.

(watch one of the services – Rebekah’s Message starts around the 20-minute mark)

It’s as if Jesus was saying, “Don’t just stare at me with your mouths hanging open like you’ve seen a ghost, invite me to sit down with you and become a vital part of your day-to-day lives!”

“Don’t just stare at me with your mouths hanging open like you’ve seen a ghost, invite me to sit down with you and become a vital part of your day-to-day lives!”

This is the heart of the Easter invitation – and especially for those of you who only come to church for these special occasions: Take Jesus home with you; invite him to breakfast, and lunch, and dinner. I know you don’t intend leaving Jesus on the cross – but let’s not leave him in the tomb either, or even in the church.

I know you don’t intend leaving Jesus on the cross – but let’s not leave him in the tomb either, or even in the church.

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image from John Akerman

It’s the first day after Easter Sunday, it’s the beginning of the second week of creation. Jesus is waiting for us to enter into all the fullness and the promise!

So hold on, this should be quite the ride!

– Peace, and more peace – DEREK

 

Take a Walk Through Bethlehem (and meet Jesus)

WELCOME TO BETHLEHEM!

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When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.Luke 2:15-16

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the angels mark the spot

Each December our church home – Wake Forest Presbyterian – offers a “set the season in its proper perspective” outreach to the community that’s done as well as anything I’ve ever seen in over thirty-four years of ministry.

It’s called “Walk Through Bethlehem,” and it’s our Christmas Card to the Community. It’s an interactive historical experience that places each visitor in the heart of First Century Judea as part of a tribe, and right in the middle of the Greatest Story Ever Told, the life of Jesus.

Last year 3,300 visitors experienced the story, and Friday evening I took a tour of our church campus to see it once again overflowing with people, buzzing with excitement, and resounding with the good news of the amazing invitation to meet the newborn child, and to let the Gospel of Love transform our lives.

THE STORY CONTINUES:

img_6574I love the way our cast orchestrate the conclusion. After finally finding Mary, Joseph, and the child, my tribe – Benjamin – was taken to our final station, three floodlit crosses. “The story doesn’t end at the manger,” our guide told us, “it continues here to the cross, where Christ died for each one of us. We can’t really understand the nativity without engaging the meaning of the cross….”

My tribe moved on from the cross, and then the story of Easter morning too, with a clear picture of why Jesus is still the Greatest Story Ever Told, and with a clear invitation to enter into the story as active participants in an ongoing life of faith.

If you live anywhere near this part of North Carolina, it’s certainly worth taking the time to visit WFPC this weekend, and to take a walk through Bethlehem. Regardless, it’s a narrative we can’t afford to just watch, it’s a story to immerse ourselves in, it’s a story we need to live.

In love, and because of love – DEREK