He’s Alive???? ~ The Rt. Rev. Michael Beckett, OPI

He’s Alive!!!!

Really? How so?  Honestly, had I not been raised as a Christian, had I not had the example of loving, devout parents, had I not experienced firsthand the miracle that is Jesus, I have great doubts that Easter would mean a hill of beans to me.  He’s alive?  There are so many folks who are anti-church, anti-christian, anti God, and ya know, I really can’t blame them.   Prove to me that Christ is alive and well in the midst of this pandemic outbreak, and show me just how so very many of our “Christian leaders” are following Christ’s words, “As I have loved you, love one another.”   Certainly not by the following:

The Bishop of Springfield, MA has decided that, because of the corona virus, there will be no Anointing of the Sick or last rites given to the faithful who are dying.

Franklin Graham’s emergency hospital  group asks health care workers and volunteers to adhere to a statement of faith, which opposes same-sex marriage and will refuse to treat gay patients.

Then there is the Christian-owned craft store Hobby Lobby that refused to shut down stores to protect their workers from COVID-19 unless states forced them to do it. CEO David Green even cited a dream about God that his wife had in making his decision to keep stores open.  Now, in a move as cowardly as it is ruthless, the store has fired dozens of workers — via email — at some of its Oklahoma stores. These terminations are permanent, even after the shelter-in-place rules are lifted.

The House of Representatives finally passed a coronavirus relief bill this past Monday night, but one Republican,  Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), refused to vote for it because he said it “redefined family” by including sick leave to care for an unmarried partner’s children.

Pastor Steven Andrew, who claims to have “shared the Gospel with over 80 million people,” made the comments in a press release last week, the Advocate reports.  “God’s love shows it is urgent to repent, because the Bible teaches homosexuals lose their souls and God destroys LGBT societies,” Andrew said. “Obeying God protects the USA from diseases, such as the coronavirus.”  He added: “Our safety is at stake, since national disobedience of God’s laws brings danger and diseases, such as coronavirus, but obeying God brings covenant protection. God protects the USA from danger as the country repents of LGBT, false gods, abortion and other sins.”

A reverend who leads a weekly White House Bible study drew backlash after he appeared to suggest that gays and lesbians are among those to be blamed for the coronavirus pandemic.  Rev. Ralph Drollinger wrote in a blog post the United States “is experiencing the forsaking wrath of God” because of homosexuals, environmentalists, atheists and “depraved minds.”  “The coronavirus could be a form of God’s cataclysmic wrath,” he wrote.

Jerry Falwell, Jr., went on Fox & Friends to falsely compare COVID-19 to the flu. Falwell also blamed Trump’s political critics, initially refused to cancel classes at Liberty University, and called one parent a “dummy” for asking questions on Twitter.  The New York Times is now reporting that multiple Liberty students now have coronavirus.

Televangelist Jim Bakker tried to peddle fake coronavirus cures.

A televangelist who supports conversion therapy and the death penalty for homosexuality said that God will “turn off” receptors in cells that allow in the virus that causes COVID-19… for people who are good enough Christians.  Andrew Wommack is the founder of Andrew Wommack Ministries and Charis Bible College and hosts daily Gospel Truth television and radio shows. He said, “We were promised that no sickness would even come nigh our dwelling” and discussed a reference to “sickness” in the Old Testament.

It is up to EVERY one of us who is not in it for the money, in it for the fame, in it for the power, to prove to the world that He is, indeed, alive.  It is up to EVERY ONE of us who proclaim Christ as our Savior to counteract, countermand, and prove to the world that Jesus is who He says he is, that Jesus is who WE say He is…….So here we go…

He’s Alive!!!!

Really? Is he? How can we prove this to the world? In what way do our lives reflect this? It is so easy for us to celebrate Easter, with all the accompanying fanfare, the music, the bunnies and chicks and eggs and ham….. We dress up in our best, go to church, and celebrate. And then what happens on Monday? We talk about how nice Easter was and go back to business as usual.

If Christ is alive as we proclaim he is, if Christ rose again from the grave to save us from our sins, to change our lives, then should our lives not reflect a profound change? One that is visible to all with whom we come into contact?

If Jesus Christ is the very God we claim, come in the flesh of humanity, if He is the Lord “through Whom all things were made,” as we recite in the Nicene Creed, it is up to us to proclaim this with all that we are, with all that we do. Think about those whom Jesus had following Him: sailors, insurgents, tax-farmers, prostitutes, widows, lepers, and, on occasion wealthy folks. Rulers, workers, and the dregs of society. Young and old. Their lives were changed in such a drastic measure that they died for their faith. Many of them left all that they had, the security of their homes, their jobs, their families, to follow Jesus. Would you? Our Christian brothers and sisters are under attack in the Mid East, in the Philippines, in Africa. Many of them have died in order to proclaim their faith. Would you do as much? Would you die for Christ?

If then, the answer is yes, would you not LIVE for Christ? You say to me, “Bishop Michael, how do you expect us to do that?” The answer to that was given to us by our Lord, Himself:

“As I have loved you, love one another.” He lived out the ultimate example of what this means. Then he said, “No greater love hath any man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Then He did just that. But it was not only to save us from our sins, though it was most assuredly that. It was the sign, the seal, that proved He was Who He said He was and that His word was true.

If He really is risen, then we have an obligation one to another to serve our fellow man as He served us. And we have an obligation to share this Good News with our fellow man. We have to make the blessings we have gained available to every human. And we have an obligation to show that there really is truth to the old song, “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” We have an obligation to reflect Christ’s goodness, His holiness, in our lives. By our speech, by our actions, by our very thoughts.

He is alive! Let us allow Him to live anew through our lives, reflecting His love and His promise in all that we do, in all that we say, in all that we are. He is alive!!!!! Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

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