Christ says, if you want to follow me, deny yourself and take up your cross. This is not a simple invitation. It is, as Peter found, a radical deviation from the powers and desires of empires. It invites a humility and willing vulnerability for the sake of the gospel.
As we consider what it means to be a Community Catalyst, what does that look like in the world today where the church is not the withholder of power, but still proclaims God’s power? How does the church not be the gatekeeper of grace, but still proclaims our freedom from sin and death, made possible by grace? How does the church not require acclimation, but still proclaims Christ as the truth and the way? How does the church actively work as Christ did, to free the oppressed, to heal the sick, to give life to the dying, while not claiming glory or attention for ourselves, but giving thanks to God in heaven above?
The reason the American Dream is such a farce, is that America started with a vision that not all people were created equal – regardless what the Constitution says. But as the church, as God’s people, we are called to proclaim God’s love for all people, and that means speaking up for and sharing God’s love with those who are treated as outcasts.
This may not be the Palm Sunday we were hoping for, or expecting. Yet, even in our isolation, the faithfulness of Christ is sufficient for you and me. The willingness of Jesus to follow in the Father’s steps will bring us new life.
The gifting of the Spirit at Pentecost gives us the rawest and truest glimpse of God’s desire for the church: to be the living witness and testimony to the goodness of God in the world. Everything else the church does should be to better serve this purpose.
As Christ ascended, he promised to send *another* advocate, so that the work of God, the work done by Christ, the Word exemplified in Christ, the grace extended through Christ, the mercy offered out of Christ, the love witnessed because of Christ – that all these works may not cease to be, but that we, empowered by the Spirit, might continue these works, and to do even greater works still to come.
Tabitha’s resurgent life is no more for herself that Peter’s resurgent faith is for himself. Peter’s gift of faith brings about new life in Tabitha, which in turn brings about new life and new faith in the community.
In the midst of our worst seasons of life, we will find a resurgence of life when we slow down and gather with one another in the presence of the Risen Christ. Slow down, and share some grilled salmon by the fire pit.
Intervention is necessary when our way of thinking, our desires, our thoughts about right and wrong come in direct contradiction with God’s will as witnessed and proclaimed in the life, ministry, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
In an odd twist of humanity, we enjoy watching as other people fail. Perhaps this is why we focus on Peter’s sinking into the water. But we should not be so quick to watch his demise; he did after all walk on water. There’s a lot to be learned from Peter’s brief experience defying gravity, and we might be the more faithful for focusing on his success than his failure.