The Resurrection is the Headline

Jesus said to them, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. 35 All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me and because of the good news will save them.

Mark 8:34-35

I thought I was falling for a parody news article a few months ago when I saw a headline about Mel Gibson making The Passion of the Christ 2, for release in 2022 or 2023. So many movies have had unnecessary sequels and remakes in the last few years; I just assumed someone was poking fun at Hollywood’s seeming unwillingness to take a risk on something brand new. I was wrong.

The Passion of the Christ is not my favorite movie about Jesus; I’m much more of a Jesus Christ Superstar fan. Both of those movies are controversial because of the absence and decentralization of the resurrection to the story of Jesus. The Romans crucified many people who were revolutionary leaders, but only one of them rose from the dead. For me, for us, the resurrection is the story’s headline.

Today, the cross feels very familiar.

Our congregation, just like many other congregations, will address difficult financial realities that will cause us to look at how we do ministry together in fundamental ways. I hope all of you attend our Annual Meeting (April 3, after 10am worship) to be part of the important decisions we face together.

The world is watching a war of choice being inflicted upon Ukraine. Families are facing escalating prices everywhere while record profits are being recorded by businesses. Businesses are competing to find workers in a labor market that is difficult to understand.

The cross is easy to see.

Together, we need to look beyond the cross. The cross is never the end of the story; it is the beginning of a new story. Without the cross there is no resurrection, but without the resurrection the cross is meaningless. In this Easter season, we need to remain faithful, like the women who visited the tomb, prepared to tend to Jesus’ broken body. God will surprise us!

Pastor Joel

Rev. Joel Risser, Pastor & Teacher