LONDON – The president of the Methodist Conference is inviting Christians to celebrate on Sunday the risen Lord and his love in action in their lives.
In his Easter message, the Rev. David Gamble said it was not so important to dwell on what happened with Jesus' body 2,000 years ago as it was to experience what Jesus was doing in lives today.
"That is why in our Easter liturgies we acclaim 'He is risen,' not just 'He did rise.' The heart of the Gospel is about now, not long ago and far away," he said.
He said Luke, this year's lectionary Gospel, emphasized the "nowness" of God's action in Jesus. He pointed to Luke 4:21, where Jesus reads from the scroll of Isaiah in the local synagogue: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
"Here and now," said Gamble. "In many ways, the challenge facing us as a church today is precisely about witnessing to God's love in action here and now."
Part of the response to that challenge, he said, lay in engaging with the story of what happened 2,000 years ago in Palestine.
He added that the church had a responsibility to witness the love and active involvement of God in the lives of individuals and communities to people all around the world.
He encouraged Methodists to remember that some of the most exciting stories related to what God was doing through the church today.
"There are some impressive and important stories to be told. Not of how things used to be. Not of our Church's former greatness. Not of our happy memories. But of God's love in action in the lives of people here and now," he said.
"The stories come from all over the place. And it is important we share them."