Rustlings (April 15, 2019)

There are particular movies that I will watch over and over again. The storyline, character development, overall message, dialogue and sheer entertainment value cause me to stop pushing the remote control button when I glimpse them during channel surfing. I will rarely pass up Shawshank Redemption – “You got to get busy living or get busy dying.” A Few Good Men – “You can’t handle the truth!” – is a sure-fire surf stopper. Speaking of Jack Nicholson, “I’m 63 years old, and I’m in love for the first time in my life” – Something’s Gotta Give always makes me pause. The latest addition to my repetitive list is The Martian. Please allow me an extended quote from the ending of the movie: “At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you. Everything’s gonna go south, and you’re going to say: This is it; this is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem…and you solve the next one…and then the next one… and if you solve enough problems, you get to come home.”

Last week, one of my neighbors asked me if I was preaching Easter Sunday morning. I responded, “That’s like asking a quarterback if he plans to play in the Super Bowl! Why would anyone sit the bench on such an incredibly exciting day?” He then added, “But don’t you get tired of the same story year after year?”

There are only a few stories all four gospels record. The only miracle found in all four gospels is the feeding of the 5000 with fishes and loaves. Even Jesus’ birth story is only recorded in two of the gospels. But the Easter story – the story of resurrection – is found in all four. I’ll be honest; I can’t get enough of this story. I love that death and abuse and bullying and jealousy and self-righteousness does not get the final word. I love that women share the first word. I love that God works in the quiet stillness of the morning. I love that no stone – no barrier – is too large to be moved. I love hearing that famous line over and over again, “He is not here, He is risen.” He is risen, indeed! I hope to see you Sunday morning…and I’ll love sharing the story one more time.

— Jim