Sermon, 4.12.09"What Is Hope?" Rev. Erik Bonkovsky 1 Corinthians 15:12-23
Why is hope important? It goes beyond just political slogans and bumper stickers. What it means is central to everything Christianity is about. It means that death is over. Not that you won't die, but that death no longer has a grip on you. Your sin and brokenness no longer define who you are. Hope, wholeness, and new beginnings are possible for you, today and every day. And God wants to do this with everything, not just you: with the city, with our world. The work that begins in you expands.
On Good Friday, Jesus was crucified and he rose on Easter Sunday. Imagine the desolation of Jesus' followers on that Saturday. Luke 24:21 captures this idea: "we had hoped that he was the one." Often in our lives we spend all of our time living in Saturday. Death, dirt, and messiness in present in our lives: we try to clean it up, make it smell a little better. This compact world and all its tangible things make us forget that there is something on the outside -- something bigger than us. But we don't have to go around with our little perfume bottles deodorizing our lives, because Christ has made us new. What sustains us in our Saturday? Hope. Hope that the resurrection is true.
As verse 23 says, "But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ." Christ resurrected is the firstfruit: a guarantee, a sign that more is coming. And this is our hope, for today and a million Saturdays.
Here is a link to the poem about hope that Erik read aloud this week: Poem of Hope
A few more pictures of goings-on at City Church of Richmond can be found here.