Rise Up!

Life Notes—April 5, 2012

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.”   Luke 24:5b

The church I grew up in served communion every Sunday.  There was barely a sip of grape juice in tiny glasses held secure in silver serving trays.  The blood of Christ spilled for me.  On silver serving plates was the bread.  The body of Christ broken for my sins.  What passed for bread in that church was unlike anything I had ever called bread.  It was tiny, flat, rectangular objects that resembled medicine more than bread.  I remember thinking if that was the body of Christ, he was not very healthy.  Years later, I learned those pasty, life-less morsels were unleavened bread—bread with nothing to make it rise. 

Leaven, in a literal sense, is “a means of lifting, something that raises.” Yeast is added to bread to make it rise so it will be fluffy and soft and delicious.  Yeast is actually alive—a conglomeration of microorganisms that cause fermentation in the bread dough.  (That grape juice probably could’ve used a little fermenting, too…)  The use of unleavened bread finds its significance many times throughout the bible, but one time was when the Jews were fleeingEgypt.  They had to leave so quickly there was no time to let the bread rise.  The unleavened bread reminds us of our Jewish ancestors’ flight to freedom. 

It is fascinating to me that the addition of a living substance, leaven, to an otherwise bland substance like bread dough, causes a transformation to occur that makes the bread much more desirable—full of life and beauty and taste.  And the same thing happens in us.  When we add a living substance to our lives—the Holy Spirit—we are reborn into new creatures, full of life and beauty and taste!  We rise up from our drab former selves and live richer, fuller lives. 

And that’s not all that is rising.  Did you know when we are asked to “Rise” in church, it not only is an instruction to physically stand, but also an invitation to lift our spirits high?  We stand up to symbolize being raised up, spiritually.  (Of course, it also helps keep us awake through the sermon…)  I am pleased to be a United Methodist where I am among those who celebrate good food, including bread that has been raised!  We are never hesitant to raise a hearty cup and plate in fellowship and praise.  With Christ, our risen and living Savior, we rise to richer, fuller lives in service to God, and to our brothers and sisters on earth. Christ has risen, and we can, too! 

This Sunday is Easter.  Many of our service times change for Easter.  Tom will preach downtown where Life worship begins early at 9:30 AM in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:00 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Mitch preaches at the west campus where there will be a sunrise service at 7:00 and contemporary worship at 9:00 and 11:00. 

Come home to church this Sunday.  Don’t be unleavened: Rise up and live!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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