Death. It's the inevitable that we want to avoid. From anti-aging creams to efforts to download a person’s brain so he or she can continue to live virtually, to cryonics, the practice of freezing and storing bodies or body parts in the hope that future scientists will thaw them and bring them back to life. We are obsessed with health fads like activity trackers and crash diets. We love the idea of a pill that will extend our vitality. Many are waiting in anticipation for the vaccination to be rolled out as a protection against death by virus, so life can resume more normally. For the flipside of death is life...and that is a far more compelling option. But there's a problem. For no matter what medical advances are made, no matter how much we try to avoid it, death comes…to hopes…to dreams...to plans…to relationships…to families...to you. But Good Friday reveals the true flipside of death. That hope is reborn. Dreaming is possible. Plans can be made. Relationships are restored. Hearts are renewed. Love wins and eternal life is real. All because the flipside of Jesus' death is life to all who receive it, believe it and live in it.
#3 in series: The Flipside of Easter
Out of battery – No more memory – We can’t afford it – I don’t have time…Much of contemporary life is defined by limits…by scarcity…by what we don’t have. We say “Enjoy it while it lasts”, knowing that all good things come to an end. So we sleep. We eat. We work and we repeat the cycle over and over again. But getting by, treading water until we no longer can, merely existing is not the life we were created for, redeemed for, and raised for. Easter Sunday tells us that there is more life than we can ever imagine. The heart of Easter is not about an empty tomb, but about the fullness of life the risen Christ gives, guarantees, and make come alive in us. Christ is raised not just from the dead, he is raised to life so we can be alive with the fullness of his life. So today we experience the flipside of life…life in abundance that overflows with unbounded joy, unlimited hope, & unending love. It’s a gift that you receive today, tomorrow, and the next day after…all because Christ is risen from the dead.
#4 in series: The Flipside of Easter
Betrayal...it's what we see as the Flipside of love. It's a word that burns deep. You don’t expect to get undercut, undermined, blindsided or betrayed by someone you trust. Someone you love. It’s cruel. It wounds. “On the night he was betrayed…” God in the flesh, was betrayed at the hands of one of his closest companions. Jesus was not only sold out by one who was supposed to support him and stand up for him, but abandoned and denied by those who knew him intimately. Jesus knows who. He knows when. He knows why. In a different time, different place, or under different circumstances, it could be anyone who has been handed the bread of Jesus’ life. That includes you and me. But for Jesus, the flipside of love is not betrayal, but something far stronger, that gives all those who betray, abandon and deny, a place at his table. It's called grace. And that's what we receive again this day.
#2 in series: The Flipside of Easter
The impact of power. It's been plastered over our television screens over recent weeks. The raw and destructive power of storms, winds, and floods, sweeping up and destroying everything in its path. The abusive and coercive use of power in workplaces and institutions. The violent and corruptive use of power by government and military groups globally. Human nature finds power unavoidably addictive and more often than not, its impact leaves nations and lives broken, torn apart, and destroyed. But when Jesus enters Jerusalem to the shouts and accolades of the crowds we witness and experience the “flipside” of power…power that restores, rebuilds, forgives, heals and blesses. Jesus didn’t grasp for power; he challenged the powerful, the privileged & the proud so that all people could receive the power and presence of God. He flips our world until it is right…in relationship with the Father…responsive to his love…embraced in his death & rejoicing in his life.
#1 in Holy Week Series: The Flipside of Easter