We are going to do something tactile to participate in Good Friday and Easter this morning. Here is the outline in case anyone wants to participate from afar.
Death and new life are very closely linked in the gospel. On Friday we remember that Jesus died as the ultimate example of co-suffering love. God in Christ participated so fully in our human condition that he allowed us to kill him, and then he defeated sin and death from the inside out. As we remember, as we participate, as we identify with Jesus in his death, the defeat of sin and death come to fruition in us as well.
Jesus pointed to this in John 12:23-26 when he said “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.”
Both Paul and Peter picked up this theme. One example is in Romans 6:3-11. “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin–because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Ask Jesus how he is asking you to die to sin or yourself today. That might be a sin issue he is asking you to let go of. That might be a dream or goal he is asking you to walk away from. Or he may wish to show you how you are already dying to sin and self on a regular basis.
Jesus, how would you like me to die to sin or myself today? How can I participate with you in your death? How am I already doing that?
When you hear something back from Jesus, write it on a small piece of paper. Sit with that for a few minutes.
When you are ready, crumple up your piece of paper and put it in a small plant pot, along with a small scoop of dirt. This is your seed.
Death is connected with new life. Crucifixion and resurrection. So I have another question for us to ask Jesus. Jesus, what is the new life you are bringing to me? As my seed dies, what new life is going to grow?
As you hear from Jesus, get a marker and write or draw something on your pot to represent what you heard, and then plant a flower in your pot. We are using pansy plants. Sit with this for a few minutes too.
No plant grows without good soil and water. Our water is the love that Jesus showers us with. So ask Jesus, “what does your love look like for me today?”
As you hear Jesus, use a marker to write or draw something on your pot to represent Jesus’ love for you. Then give your plant some water and allow yourself to experience the reality of God’s love for you.
Happy Easter. You are well loved.