Monday, April 9, 2012

Resurrection in the City

One less.  As we made a right hand turn on Grand Boulevard in front of our ministry building there were remnants of the crime scene from the night before.  White ash dotted the black asphalt where the flares had warned off traffic.  Crime scene tape hung without purpose, now that the light of day had brought back regular activity.  One less.  The thought of there being one less person in the world, in our neighborhood, weighed heavily on me as we rounded the corner, our day proceeding as usual.  For another family this loss of life will leave a gaping hole that will make it impossible for this to be another day as usual, and for one forty-year-old man an eternal destiny, of either life or death, has been decided.

No doubt there will soon be a memorial erected on a sign or light pole beside the street, flowers and teddy bears marking the loss of his life.  We see it many times here in the city, pillars of stuffed animals charting an all too familiar path, winding its way through city streets toward eternity; violence abruptly ushering souls from their bodies, some prepared to meet their Savior, and some not.  If I let myself dwell on it pain tightens my chest.  Too many, Lord.  Too many lives lost in life and in death.

Death and brokenness are daily realities in the city.  It can be overwhelming sometimes, but I find both anguish and mercy for those of us who remain.  The loss of life will always bring pain, but facing it regularly keeps us focused on the frailty of life.  Death provides an urgency that usually wanes in our complacent hearts.  As followers of Christ we are here with a purpose, one that we must not take lightly.  There are lives that hang in the balance. 

With the prevalence of death in the city, it is easy to let discouragement creep in, but this month as we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord, I am reminded that we serve a God who conquered death.  He is a living God, with the power to breathe His resurrection into any and all who accept it.  What a gift of freedom for the city, locked in the bonds of death and brokenness.  Ministry in the city can feel a daunting task at times, but Christ’s freedom and power are unleashed in the world through His people.  That is why the only answer in the face of death and brokenness is to invest in the expansion of God’s Kingdom.

I cannot reach everyone, but if I disciple even two people who each disciple two people, who each disciple two more we will soon have the resurrection power of Christ rushing through the city streets.  Churches of the lost, who now are found, will multiply with eternal force bringing the hope and freedom and healing and power of our Savior.  This is our prayer; this is our mission. 

Praise God, death has no hold on us in Christ!  He has risen!     

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