by David Phelps
"Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person." - Mother Teresa
This summer, as usual, we attended Maple Days, Maplewood, Missouri's annual end-of-summer carnival. Of course, we stopped at the Maplewood United Methodist booth for some delicious barbecue sandwiches. Also as usual, every bee in St. Louis County had descended on Deer Creek Park. As we ate our lunch, they swarmed around us, attracted by the sugar in the barbecue sauce, baked beans, lemonade, etc.
As we were finishing our meal, I found a bee floating in our daughter Monica's lemonade. My wife, Charlotte, carefully fished the bee out with a napkin, and laid it on my empty plate. She then blew gently on the bee. Its wings fluttered in the slight breeze.
"I don't think that will do any good," I said. "I think it's dead."
We continued sitting there for a while. Occasionally, I looked down at where it lay unmoving. After a while, I glanced down at the bee again. It was gone! I looked around and found it crawling falteringly around the rim of the plate. From time to time, it buzzed its wings unsuccessfully; they were too wet and sticky to enable it to fly. But finally, it took flight and flew away unsteadily. I felt as though I had witnessed a small resurrection. I thought of the resurrection of Christ: If I could be touched by the sight of a bee taking flight, how much more should I be affected by the child of God being raised from the dead?
You might wonder why I'm writing about the resurrection in early fall: "Dave, you're either six months early or six months late. We talk about the resurrection at Easter." That's true. And perhaps it's also a problem. If we only talk or think about the resurrection at Easter, we miss the point: Christ rose again to give us new life and freedom from sin today, tomorrow and forever. The resurrection is not just for Easter but for every day. We need to live as if we believe the song we sing on Easter morning:
"Every morning is Easter morning from now on.
Every day's resurrection day, the past is over and gone."
This is the message we are called to deliver to the world. The power of the risen Christ is at work in us each and every day, and through us, others can know the resurrection as well: Resurrection from sin, from despair, from poverty, and from hunger. The word usually translated "resurrection" in the New Testament is the Greek word "anastasis," which means "a standing or rising up." Every time we help someone to stand or rise from an oppressive situation in Christ's name, there is a resurrection. If we truly believe this, our faith can take flight and transform the lives of everyone around us.
"Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection," (Phil. 3:8-11a RSV.)