■ By Erin Armstrong / Contributed
“What if we actually lived like Jesus was alive?” What a thought-provoking question. It was shocking that a seminary professor would ask such a question to a bunch of people who had dedicated their lives to working in the church. But let’s face it, we all know that there are times where we might believe that Jesus is alive, but we don’t act like it. We might give lip service to scriptures or the creeds, we might show up to church on Sundays, but do our lives reflect the reality that God is alive and active in our hearts and in the world?
I’m not 100 percent sure what a life fully sure of a living God looks like, but I think we can find some clues in what Jesus says to the disciples after the resurrection. According to John, even after Peter sees the empty tomb and Mary Magdalene tells them she has seen the Risen Christ, the disciples hide behind locked doors—fearful of what the religious and political consequences of their association with Jesus might be. They may face death, and they certainly face alienation. They don’t know who they can trust, so they simply bunker down.
But Jesus finds them in their hiding place and in their fear. He appears, despite the locked door, and says, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). Jesus is not about to let the disciples, who have learned so much and seen so much, just give up on the task for which he has prepared them.
True disciples of the Risen Christ cannot simply hide from the world behind closed doors, hoping the problems that face them might go away. Those who believe and live like Jesus is actually alive go out into the world to do what Jesus did (or at least imperfectly attempt to do so).
Living like Jesus is alive means we should not worry about our own comfort or livelihood, but we should give all we have to our neighbors in need.
-“Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you”
And when disciples of Jesus go out into the world, they proclaim peace. Those who live like Jesus is alive don’t buy into the rhetoric of fear and warmongering the powers of this world cling to so desperately. Living like Jesus is alive means we should not worry about our own comfort or livelihood, but we should give all we have to our neighbors in need. Jesus lived in full confidence of what God had in store, and healed those who needed to be healed, fed those who needed to be fed, and offered grace to all…no questions asked. That’s what disciples are called to do now that he is raised from the dead. If death has no power, disciples should not spend their time worrying about it.
In the next few months, people at Trinity will be reading through the Book of Acts, which details how the first disciples learned first-hand how to live a life in the Risen Lord. They are empowered in their work through the Holy Spirit, which leads them far out of their comfort zones and hiding places. If you are looking for a place to ask yourself “am I living like Jesus is really alive?” I encourage you to join us in this study Tuesdays at 9 a.m. and Thursdays at 7 p.m.
May the living Christ move in your hearts, so that you might know, proclaim and live his peace.
Pastor Erin Armstrong is the senior pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church (ELCA). They are located at 191 S. Columbia St. and worship at 8:30 and 10 every Sunday morning. Visit www.trinityhemet.org for more learning, worship and fellowship opportunities.