This was the second Sunday worship gathering in a multi-week focus on “Practicing Resurrection” as we celebrate Easter (which is a season of the church year, not one Sunday). Last Sunday, I mentioned that the deepest meaning of the resurrection was not that Jesus rose from the dead. A deep understanding of the Bible shows that God did that to more than a few people (among them, Lazarus, and later, a guy who fell out of a window while listening to what must have been a terribly boring message from the apostle Paul). And the deepest meaning of the resurrection was not even that Jesus didn’t die, because two others in the pages of the Bible never died a natural death. Of course, this may sound shocking for me to say this, but I’m no Jesus Seminar-follower with their belief that the resurrection was merely metaphorical and their confident assertions that the disciples knew this too *cough* BS *cough* (sorry, something in my throat).
Of course Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven.
But that wasn’t the deepest meaning. Take a gander at 1 Corinthians 15, and look for three red-flag themes; futility, hope, and firstfruits. The link to the sermon is here. It’s just a raw copy and paste job right now. I’ll shape it up to follow the flow of thoughts here in a bit, but I’ve got schoolwork.
My basic contention is that Jesus in his resurrection placed the rebellious power of death under his feet, scoffed at peoples’ attempt to thwart his purposes, and in so doing, freed us from the fear and finality of death by giving us the hope of resurrection. In order to carry that hope, we must invest all of who we are in his kingdom, and freedom from the fear of death enables us to live with hope now; that no situation is too dark for God’s light and life to enter, even if our lives are snuffed out in the process.
So this Sunday we talked about my friend at seminary Robert Russo, his organization Christians for the Mountains, and their battle against the disgusting practice of Mountain Top Removal (driven mainly by the corporation Massey Energy and others). These folks are followers of Jesus, and heroes in my book (maybe even “latter-day saints”? haha!)
As for the pictures, the first is of Robert, the second shows the enormity of the “dragline” that is employed in MTR, the third shows a “valley fill” (where the company dumps the mountain as they grade it, thus clogging up watersheds, altering streams, shredding the ecosystem, and creating a place where when it rains, flash floods rip through the area), the fourth, fifth, and sixth show Kayford Mountain, WV, and the desecration of the land over a three year time-span (this is being done over hundreds of thousands of acreage in WV, KT, NV, and VA), and the seventh and eighth show an area of WV on Google Earth with satellite photos taken before and after MTR operations. I’d encourage you to download the Kayford pictures and flip through them on your computer back and forth quickly. It’s a shocking difference.