“things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made”
This short quote is from the collect for ordinations in the Episcopal Church. It echoes what the apostle Peter says in Acts 2, today’s Daily Office reading: “But God raised Jesus up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.”
These are holy things. Me, you, things that have been created, things that have died, things which have grown old. They are common in that they decay and die. They are holy in that they are given new life in Jesus. And not just life here and now; I mean a fuller life in the life after life.
This has implications for ministry. Bishop Dyer, of the Virginia Seminary, says “If you do not believe in the resurrection, then your ministry is built on false pretenses.”
All of our ministries, be it teaching, leading, praying, feeding, have to be built upon this single incontrovertible foundation; Jesus has been raised from the dead. If I did not believe that all things would eventually be made new, what’s the point of taking those kids on the mission trip? Why would I spend four sleepless nights on a dilapidated air mattress with seven other stinky dudes? Why would I wake up early to feed breakfast to the hungry?
What’s the point, if not for Easter? The point is, all things will be made new. You, and I, and that homeless guy who reeks of body odor and hasn’t brushed his teeth in a month will be raised again. This is the church’s hope, this is Peter’s hope, and this is the only thing that I can hold on to in order to make sense of my life.