Spilling Hope: H2o & the Resurrection
In a few weeks many around the world will gather to celebrate Easter, recalling and testifying to our belief that history changed forever because Jesus tomb was found to be empty in a Sunday morning, and later that day the one who had died on a cross appeared to His followers, declaring that the healing of our broken world had begun.
But what, ultimately, is the point of this celebration? As NT Wright offers in this book, "A good many Easter hymns start by assuming that the point of Easter is that it proves the existence of life after death and encourages us to hope for it." But Wright goes on to declare the deficiency of this view, precisely because the hope for renewal and restoration is delayed - yes, restoration will happen...someday, somewhere. But not now, not here. In the meantime, until the rescue happens, the best we can do is wait, and teach others to also wait.
Really? Is that the best we can do? Is that even what we're called to do? Paul indicates, in his extensive declaration about the resurrection found here, that because He is risen, we are to "be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, know that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."
What is this work of the Lord? Jesus made it quiet clear here, and here. James also spoke of it here. The resurrection of Jesus was, after all, the beginning of a new world order, a world where there's justice, peace, hope, mercy, celebration, deliverance - all because of new King, and a new Life available to indwell any who open themselves up to Christ's life and reign. Those who do will follow Him in embodying hope... making hope visible in concrete acts of service and mercy.
That's why I'm so excited about the Easter service we're planning at the church I pastor. Rather that simply declaring that Christ is risen, our intent is to give our community and opportunity to embody the hope and new reign of the risen Jesus. We'll do this by beginning a 50 focus that will culminate in an offering to provide wells, and water, for people in Africa who presently have no access to clean water. We'll do this through Living Water International. Our 50 days will include water education projects, prayer for specific places in Africa where wells will be either drilled or repaired, concerts, community outreach (to educate Seattle about the issues), and a challenge to simplify lifestyles, giving the savings realized through simplification to the Spilling Hope project. This is important as this article reminds us:
UNESCO said half a billion people in Africa lack access to adequate sanitation, and that 5,000 children die daily from diarrhea, a disease that can be prevented with clean water. The agency said the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day is roughly the same as the number without access to safe drinking water.
"In America, diarrhea is bad takeout," said John Sauer of Water Advocates, a U.S.-based nonprofit group. "In Chad, it's the difference between life and death." (Associated Press)
Pray for us. Pray with us. We're wanting to raise $100,000 through these efforts. This time of economic uncertainty is, for we who follow Christ, most definitely NOT a time for fear. Rather this time, above all times, is the time to let hope spill out into our broken world, because people are thirsty, literally, for life. This is Easter. This is the gospel.