All Saints Day, 2014 Find the Center
Find the center.
In almost any sport the team that controls the center wins the game. Every successful business knows the center of their business and stays connected to the center of their customer’s needs. Couples that keep bringing their marriage back the center remain happily married even as the challenges and difficulties of life come and go.
Life is found at the center.
The bee that dives deep into the center of the flower returns to make the honey that gives the hive life. The equator has the greatest abundance and diversity of life. The distracted, uncentered driver crashes, and perhaps dies.
Jesus is the life that is found at the center.
“In him we live and move and have our being,” is a line from the Apostle Paul’s sermon to the Athenians. The Acts of the Apostles has sermons preached by Paul to Jews, but when he is in Athens, Paul preaches in a totally new way. Previously, all the sermons began with a foundation of God’s history with the Jewish people and from that the sermon demonstrates that Jesus is the fulfillment of all their hopes and prophecies.
The Athenians, however, are not Jews, and so the “hook” that Paul uses is to comment on their statue to “An Unknown God.” As he has observed all the statues and temples to the various Greek gods and goddesses, he begins his sermon by complimenting them on being a very religious people, even including a fail-safe statue to an “Unknown God,” just in case they missed a god and that god might be angry with them.
From this beginning Paul preached Jesus to them, “In him we live and move and have our being.” Jesus is the center.
On this All Saint’s Sunday we remember that Jesus said to Mary when he learned of the death of her brother Lazarus, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” The resurrected life indeed means the life after life, but more rarely do people realize that Jesus means life right now and ongoing into the time after death.
Those who have heard Jesus’ call to the resurrected life know that they were created by God to bring life in the midst of a death dealing world. For some it is the call to be a parent who brings life—physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual to a child. For some it is the call to create a network of communication that will span the globe. For some it is a call to cultivate the earth with reverence and love for all living things. For others it is …
To have Jesus at the center is to put to death all that is in you, in your calling, and in your world that is death dealing. It is to allow the resurrected Jesus to transform you and the world through you.