Sunday, November 5, 2017

Resuscitation or Resurrection

Joyce Sasse - “We can mourn the loss of things of the past” Bobbie Schuller advises, “but we are called on to move forward.”  He was speaking to his congregation four years ago at a land-mark time in their life journey. Because of cumulative fiscal debt, those who once owned the Crystal Cathedral in Los Angeles California were forced to dispose of the iconic property, and move the Hour of Power elsewhere.

As the moving process wound down, on two successive Sundays the young pastor delivered messages that spoke of wisdom and courage.

Roman Catholics own the property that is now known as Christ Cathedral. Schuller and his Catholic counterpart made it clear they intended maintaining a dynamic relationship between the two communities – a far different way of thinking than would have been possible generations before.

Naturally big changes were in store for those whose new home is now the Shepherd’s Grove Church. Schuller talked about moving forward. It is not about resuscitation (of what we had in the past). Our is a resurrection-faith. “When death comes don’t pretend it is not going to be. Mourn it. Embrace it. And move on expecting there will be more.” He reminded us “we can’t know how things are going to work out unless we let them die,” all the while believing in God’s promise of new life.

These words are helpful for grieving congregations, for dying organizations and for all of us as we think back on the losses we have faced in the past (and will face in the future). “Resuscitation” speaks of longing for what once was and not letting go. This carries with it heavy burdens of regret. “Resurrection” speaks of trust, hope, anticipation, of believing that God will be with us as we move forward – and will show us new vistas we never believed possible.

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