Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Presbyterian Outlook: Living in Hope

Presbyterian Outlook: Living in Hope
[free registration required to read the full article]

"Whether it be spouted by the Jesus Seminar scholars, the Da Vinci Code author or The Lost Tomb of Jesus producer, this is the season when magazines give undeserved attention to Jesus’ detractors. In spite of their allegedly formidable arguments, confident Christians worldwide will gather in huge numbers on Easter morning chanting, “He is risen. He is risen. He is risen indeed.”

Presbyterian Outlook: Living in Hope Such affirmations continue undeterred, because the arguments supporting the resurrection and the legacy of Christ-changed lives far overwhelm lame claims about some Passover Plot.

Then again, resurrection faith does have other detractors, or distracters. We who declare the confident hope of resurrection often exhibit attitudes that scream out hopelessness, despair, and defeat.

These voices of despair have saddened me more than once since I accepted the call to serve as your editor here at the Outlook. They broadcast their hopelessness by sending in letters to the editor. Many letters challenge the viewpoints of this editor and our writers, and that’s totally okay. But what breaks my heart is reading letters that sing, “Hi, ho, the church is dead, the wicked church, the church is dead.”

Such voices don’t say that the Church-with-a-capital-C, the universal Church of Jesus Christ, is dead. They have claimed that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is dead, that it is irretrievably lost and hopelessly undone. They blame bureaucracy and ideology, traditionalism and liberalism, compromises and conspiracies, plus a host of other enmeshed causes. At the end, they render their final diagnosis: dead, never to be revived.

In the process, they hurl scorn and mockery at anybody who speaks a word of hope for the denomination—their hopelessness is irrefutable. ..."

Self-fulfilling prophesies are all too easy to make...

Dr. Haberer, in yesterday's editorial from the Presbyterian Outlook makes it quite clear that our hope comes not from humans but from the Resurrection of Christ, and the victory over death and freedom to live free of the bondage of sin that it provides us.

There are attacks from all directions on the Church but the ones that are most frustrating are those that occur from within.

Jack Haberer closes with a verse of The Church's One Foundation which may not be familiar to all:
Though with a scornful wonder This world sees her oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder, By heresies distressed,
Yet saints their watch are keeping; Their cry goes up; “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping Shall be the morn of song.

I would add to that the final two verses of I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day:
And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

We live with the hope of the Resurrection; let's keep on reminding ourselves and each other of that inescapable fact.

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