By Rev. Dr. Marty Cauley
Christians love Easter. I mean why not? There are fresh flowers, signs of rebirth, and celebratory hymns sung loudly in full churches. However, I’ve noticed that very few of these worshippers attend the Good Friday services that were just a couple of days prior to the Easter celebration. In actuality, Easter is only possible if Good Friday occurs first. There must be death before there can be resurrection.
As a culture, we simply do not talk about death. In some very real ways, we pretend it doesn’t exist until it disrupts our lives and we are forced to face it. As a cancer patient who receives treatments every other week, I’m fully aware of my mortality. As such it provides me the opportunity to make the most of my time and the legacy I will leave behind.
Across the US, 96 churches close every week. Most of these congregations take no care to insure that the witness they have had for Christ will continue to live. Instead, they allow decline and desperation to guide their decisions. Like most people, these churches pretended they would never die, so they made no plans for their legacy to live on.
There is another way because we are resurrection people. The office of New Faith Communities is working with the office of Church Transformation to provide opportunities for a resurrection model for the church where the assets of churches facing the end of their life cycle can invest in the future for the building of the Kingdom of God by investing in new churches and initiatives to invite new people into communion with Christ. The Wesleyan witness can continue because these faithful Christians believe in a future with hope and the Savior who wants to invite all to the table.
Death is inevitable; hope is optional. Let us be resurrection people who allow our hope to live on and our legacy to continue.