Friday, April 27, 2012

"Is There Anything Positive about Death?"

That seems like a pretty stupid question, doesn't it? Our first reaction is probably, "No, there's nothing positive at all about dying. It's the most horrible thing there is." And if you've ever seen death first hand, it is pretty difficult to deny such a statement. And yet, death touches each one of our lives. There is not one human being who can avoid it. If there is absolutely nothing good about death and we are helpless in its face, it would seem that death really has conquered human life.

A lot of people don't like the emphasis Jesus Christ gave to life after death. They often call him an "escapist". They claim he did not concentrate enough on solving the problems of the here and now. There's a reason for that. Jesus knew very well that even if he healed every single person on earth while he ministered here and even if he gave $10 million to each one, those people would still die. And in dying, the healing and money they had received would lose all their value.

So what did Jesus do? He did the unthinkable. He revolutionized death. Instead of being the end of life, Jesus morphed death into a transition from one life to a different life. He made death a door through which human beings would pass, leaving all the pain, suffering and hurt of this life behind.

Somebody once said, "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection." You don't want to do that, no matter how sophisticated and rebellious that statement may sound. It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ which gives meaning to our lives today, power to endure suffering and confident hope in the hour of death. No, instead join us this Sunday at 10:00 am (April 29) and shout, "I know that my Redeemer lives! What comfort this sweet sentence gives!"

Friday, April 20, 2012

That One Thing

It has been a tough couple of weeks in America in regard to scandals. There wasn't a day that went by without some kind of outrageous behavior on the part of people one would think should know better. The result has been a flood of editorial columns debating what should be done to correct what seems to be a growing problem. If you had the opportunity to choose one specific measure to remedy the current crisis of morality, what would you do? What one thing would be most important to righting the world's wrongs?

Would the word "forgiveness" come to mind? Probably not, but that is exactly what Jesus talked about when he met his followers as a group for the first time after his death on the cross. After a quick greeting he said,

"As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

To many people, it might seem there are a whole lot of good reasons why forgiveness wouldn't be the single most important solution to our world's problems. There is the truth that many people don't deserve forgiveness--maybe no one does. Some people don't even want to be forgiven. And then there are those who abuse forgiveness. They use it as license to keep on doing inappropriate things. And yet, Jesus couldn't be more clear in his wording to his followers: "Go out and let people know God offers full and complete forgiveness of all sins."

Maybe where we go wrong is thinking that if we just tweak a few things, we can make this world a perfect place. In fact, we even have the vague hope that with our technological savvy we can find a way around death. Throughout his ministry Jesus discarded outright such hypotheses. He openly said we're never going to find heaven on earth. Instead, he said, "In this life you will have trouble." And looking around, that is putting it mildly. In regard to finding a solution to death, well, we'd all be very wise to prepare ourselves for that moment rather than counting on some last minute fix.

When it comes to life, we're on the outside looking in. We know life can be better...should be better, but we don't know how to get there. Jesus does and that better life comes through the forgiveness he won for us. It is what each one of us needs most. Join us this Sunday, April 22 at 10:00 am for a good dose of what we need most.

Hawaii Lutheran Church (WELS)

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Honolulu, HI
Community Lutheran Church holds protestant chapel services in Honolulu, Hawaii near Pearl Harbor, HI. We are next to the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hickam Air Force Base, and Fort Shafter Hawaii. Look for us directly behind the Salt Lake, Hawaii, Target.