Our February 13 Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. We are excited to say that our Sunday 8 & 10:30 am services are open again for in-person worship. Services will continue to be streamed online.
The February 20 Sunday worship service will be held with in-person attendance. We have returned to regular in-person worship services. With an upturn in county COVID cases, we recommend masks even for those who are vaccinated.
We are glad to share our worship with you. Click on “Contact Us” above to find out more about our faith family and what we believe.
Jeremiah 17:5-10 | Psalm 1
1 Corinthians 15:12-20 | Luke 6:17-26
“If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
What is Paul talking about? What he is really talking about, or rather doing, is defending faith in Christ at its very core. What is the central message of the Christian faith? What is the sine quo non of what we believe? What do we declare, affirm and proclaim which no one else does? It is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, given for our sins, and through which, in faith, our sins are forgiven. The crucifixion and resurrection are the very heart and soul of our faith. It is a mystery, but it is a glorious mystery. And, it is something which cannot be apprehended by the head alone. It must be receive and held onto in the heart and soul, in faith.
The problem is, and always has been, that you cannot prove the Resurrection, but then again, God doesn’t desire proof. God avoids it. God wants faith. Even in the time of St. Paul, within about 20 to 30 years of the Resurrection, it appears from the text, there were those who denied the Resurrection. The reason is simple, and understandable. The Resurrection is well beyond our natural experience. It does not make sense to the head alone. It cannot be proved from our experience. But, neither can it be disproved. No, it must be received in faith, in the heart and the soul.
Faith alone can lead us to believe in the resurrection. It is too wondrous to be taken any other way. It is the heart and soul, the very essence of the Christian Gospel. Without the Resurrection, there is no Christianity; only Christ’s moral teaching of this world, good rules to live by in this life, but no hope beyond it.
And that is the problem. Already, in the Early Church, there were those who wished to reduce the message to mere morality. They dismissed the wonderful for the common, the extraordinary for the ordinary. “Give us the natural; we do not understand the supernatural, the Divine.” And that is the great mistake, “If it is for this life only that we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” It destroys the whole purpose of Christ’s mission to us and the world. It nullifies the Gospel. It leaves us with a dead Messiah, who suffered a horrible death for our sins, and God loses in the face of sin, death and evil. The moment of victory, is transformed to defeat. It is the Resurrection rather which declares God’s victory. To deny the Resurrection is to insult God. That is what Paul is saying. You would have thought that that was enough. But it is not.
We live in a world which has largely lost its sense of wonder, a sense of the supernatural, practically any sense of the Divine, especially of God working in the lives of people. We like to be able to explain everything, and anything. And yet, it is more and more apparent that we live in a world filled with people hungering for Divine assurance. It is because we desire hope, and an explanation is not a word of hope. Explanations too often leave us in despair. I love studying the sciences, especially physics. But, even science, ultimately leaves us with only probabilities. That is particularly true of physics. Some may despair in this. I find it fascinating. People are searching for something to have hope in. They won’t find it from this world.
Our hope must come from beyond ourselves. A student once wrote to me, as I am teaching him about World Religions no less, “I only believe in science. I believe that only science can save the world.” I wrote back, “Has it ever occurred to you that to a large degree, it has been science which has gotten us into the present predicament?” I didn’t include that a good portion of our advances in science has come from military development and warfare, which is a continuing predicament. I hoped that my retort would set him thinking. I should have told him that “Theology is the Queen of the Sciences.” That would have really confused him. Hope must come from beyond us. When left to our own devices, we are left with our own devices!
“If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” Actually, there is a lot of Gospel in that sentence. God has not just pitied us, but moved with compassion towards us! He gave His Son, so that all who believe in him might be saved. So that, we might hope beyond this present circumstance, and our own chaos, as well as chaos of the cosmos.
We have the hope there is something greater; God’s love shown to us in Christ that we shall be made whole and restored, in Christ, through our faith in him as Our Risen Lord. The foundation of God’s expression of love for us is Christ. We behold God in the face of Christ. Others are to see Christ in us. Christ is raised by the glory of God to show to all that God was reconciling this sinful world with its creatures to himself through Christ. The Resurrection is the sign of the Victory won by Christ. God, in Christ, victorious over sin, death and evil, and in faith, we are given hope beyond hope. We don’t hope in this life only, we hope in the God who gives Life, Who is Life. We have faith in Our God, who raised Christ to life from the dead, and joins us to that same Resurrection, and its hope, through our baptism into Christ.