Resurrection People

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

What does this mean?

The Resurrection of Jesus is witness that the forces of evil, death and despair do not have the final word. Resurrection is God’s work in the world. We are connected to that work in our baptism. It is a gift already given as well as a future hope. We believe that the power of God that raised Jesus Christ to new life on Easter is alive in us and in our world today.

Resurrection is not avoidance of death. Resurrection does not come from our work or efforts. Resurrection cannot be measured by worldly success or quantified by numbers. It is not tinkering with the old, but is something completely new. Resurrection is our way of life.

Pray First

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

What Does this Mean?

Praying first means living with Christ at the center of our lives. We recognize our need to connect to God, the source of life. The Holy Spirit helps us make this connection though a variety of individual and communal spiritual practices including worshipping, praying, singing, hearing the Word and receiving the Sacraments. Without this connection our relationship with God withers and dies and so do we.

Praying first is not head knowledge about Christ apart from our experience of him, nor is it seeking after human wisdom. It is not so much expressing our will to God, but listening for God’s gracious guidance and direction and offering ourselves in God’s service.

Walk Together

“…And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

What Does this Mean?

Like the first disciples we journey together in and with Christ. We live in relationship with our neighbors near and far. Together we are called to find ways to embody Jesus’ work – offering and receiving forgiveness, working for justice and reconciliation in the world, breaking down walls that divide, forming community, building bridges, inviting partnerships and creating networks. Walking together is a “we” experience that takes place both within and beyond the congregation.

Walking together does not isolate or separate us from each other or from the whole. It is not individualism nor is it a pair of “I’s” simply traveling in the same direction. Walking together means that we are not closed to forgiveness. We do not slander, speak ill of others or hold grudges. Walking together invites us to be mindful of the needs of others and of the world and to pay attention to the least, the last and the lost.

Change Lives

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

What Does this Mean?

God changes lives and invites us to participate in and bear witness to that work. God sends us into the world as channels of God’s grace and empowers us to be the hands and heart of Christ in the world. God calls us to turn outward in service and public witness, knowing that even as God is using us to transform the world, we will be transformed. We respond by expecting, experiencing, exhibiting and expressing joy and generosity.

Changing lives and being changed is not our doing, but is a sign of God at work in the world. Change is not easy or without pain. New life is God’s intent for us as well as for the whole of creation.

 

The ELCA Upstate New York Synod is a partner synod of the Central/Southern Illinois Synod. We are also companion synods with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe.