Dear Easter People,
There is a legend that someone once asked Ernest Hemingway to write a story using only six words. His response? “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” Since then, the idea of a “Six-Word Story” has grown in popularity. One article defines it as “a short narrative that can have all of the emotional themes of longer stories—from funny to dramatic, sad to scary …. They have a subject and verb that give the reader a sense of what’s happened and a bit of conflict.”
Scan the internet for examples, and you’ll find lots of gems, from the funny (“Won food fight. Used canned vegetables.”) to the sorrowful (“The smallest coffins are the heaviest.”) to the poignant. (“He died happy, knowing he lived.”)
But did you know that the original six-word story, the most important in history, first coined two-thousand years ago, is in the Bible?
It is a simple, clear narrative that appears fourteen times in the gospels, in Acts, and in Paul’s letters:
“God raised Jesus from the dead.”
That’s it. That was Christianity in a nutshell over the first centuries of the church. When the first Christians gathered in house churches to worship, this was their creed. The resurrection was the central feature of the faith, and this six-word story reminded them that just as Jesus died a real death, he was brought back to real life.
And the most important part of that story is this: Jesus did not raise himself.
To put this six-word story in grammatical terms, Jesus was the direct object, not the subject. God did the raising; Jesus did the receiving. Of course, we can split theological hairs remembering that God the Father and God the Son are one in the same, so that technically, God did in fact rise from the dead.
But let’s not miss this important point: We cannot raise ourselves, either. God does the resurrecting, not us. We cannot rise on our own; we need the power of God to raise us to new life.
RISE: 12 STEPS WITH JESUS
That conviction is at the heart of our current worship series, which we began last Sunday. From now through the end of May, we are exploring the spirituality of the acclaimed 12-step program, which has transformed the lives of many people in various kinds of addiction recovery.
But you don’t have to be in recovery to gain immense spiritual benefit from this journey. And this Sunday, we explore Steps 2 and 3, summarized as “God can” and “I will let God”:
- Step 2: To believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.
- Step 3: To decide to turn our lives and will over to the care of God.
If you haven’t yet done so, pick up a copy of the personal workbook at the Hyde Park office this Sunday or during the week. It includes scripture readings, reflections, and exercises for you to live into each of the steps. Pick up copies to share with a friend, or find a digital copy on our website. We also invite you to take part in one of the small groups, which are currently forming. You can register here.
And of course, don’t miss a Sunday, as we explore each of these steps together, and give praise to the God who is still in the resurrection business. Open your heart and life to being the direct object of God’s resurrecting power, and discover your own six-word story of transformation.
See you Sunday!
NIGHT OF PRAISE – TONIGHT!
Tonight at 7 p.m. in the Harnish Center, the Contemporary Band will be hosting an uplifting “Night of Praise.” Come together and celebrate the great things God is doing at Hyde Park through music and story and experience the joy of being a church family. All the fantastic singers and band members will be there, so come celebrate!
FACILITIES TASK FORCE UPDATE
Last November, our Ministry Leadership Council (MLC) chartered a Facilities and Property Task Force to develop a prioritized and time-phased master plan for utilization, improvement and disposition of facilities and real property owned by Hyde Park United Methodist. To read more about their work and the latest updates, click here.