We say we are an Easter people, but after a year of living with the unimaginable impacts of COVID-19 and uncertainty about the future, the persistent question is, can we rise again?
As we complete this 40 Days of Apostleship we have been focused on expanding our faith from believing in Jesus to believing like Jesus. We, thus far, have explored five of Jesus’ core beliefs, the first being that Jesus believed in his partnership with God; second, that his prayers had power; third, that he had superpowers; fourth, that his life had purpose; and fifth that he had potential. Today we come to the sixth of his most important beliefs: Jesus believed that he would rise again. In other words, Jesus believed in possibility.
Jesus Believed in Possibility
Several times in the Gospels, Jesus confided in his disciples that things were going to get very dark, very bleak. However, the light would dawn again. Jesus told them, “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days He will rise.” Mark 9:31
Not only did Jesus believe in possibility for himself, he believed it for his disciples. He told them that, even though they would all scatter once he was threatened, he would still be there for them. “But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Mark 14:28 Indeed, he met them on the path as they headed back to Galilee.
Now is the time to up your faith in a positive future. In President Biden’s speech to the country on March 11th, he talked about the possibility of Independence Day also being a day of “independence from this virus.” He acknowledged the nation’s losses with empathy and turned our attention toward hope. He offered our nation the possibility of a more truthful, more compassionate, healthier future, if we as a people take the steps to make it happen.
In the same light of possibility, we as church leaders and congregants can, and need, to take the soulful steps to co-creating miracles with God.
Embrace the Belief
As your soul makes room for this new level of belief in possibility, use the DARE model to embrace and embody the belief. Adapted from Dream Like Jesus: Deepen Your Faith and Bring the Impossible to Life, this four-step model invites you to use your holy imagination to call forth something new into being.
DARE to Dream
DREAM: Begin to dream now of what a positive future could look like. Focus on your future habits, gratitudes, family life, or congregational structure. Consider how the pandemic will bear good fruit for the state of medicine, community services, and the health of the earth. Allow the Holy Spirit to shape your vision and guide your thoughts. This is an important step in daring to dream and believing like Jesus.
ALIGN: Bring yourself into alignment with God by receiving divine courage, comfort, and confidence to dare to dream. Then invite others into your dream of a new future by sharing it out loud. One caution: don’t share your sacred dream with naysayers whose only interest is in doom and gloom.
REALIZE: We have realized just how precious our human connection is. We’ve attended online birthday parties, family reunions, meetings, and simply, visits with friends. We’ve joined in long-distance celebrations that, if they’d been in person, we might not have been able to attend, allowing us to enjoy a connection to family and friends that we may have been missing. I dream that when the time comes that it is safe to gather in person again, we’ll continue our precious new habit of getting together with far-away loved ones online.
EXPAND: Watch how one good idea expands into others. Watch how spirits rise, buoyed on the life-giving stream of possibility. To expand your dream even more, collage, paint, or draw it. Engaging in this level of imagination isn’t wasted. Nor is it pie in the sky. This expression of possibility is co-creation with God.
Resist the temptation to repeat the latest talking heads’ talking points. Instead make it a point to note that He is Risen. And that we too will rise again. Because we will.
I know it hasn’t been easy this past year to maintain a strong belief in possibility in the face of devastating loss of life and hardship for so many. That’s why I’m inviting you to join me for my next free session of “How to Create a Culture of Renewal” and learn the life-giving miracles that renewal can bring to you and your congregation. Together, we can rise again.