RESURRECTION AS THE NEW COVENANT
Roxy challenged us to express how our understanding and experience of the resurrection of Jesus influences our life today. Like many present day Christians, I have had difficulty in my early years to accept a physical resurrection after death as stated in the New Testament, when there are conflicting reports in later passages about the identity and manifestation of the risen Christ. I had the audacity to express these doubts to my pastor at the time, the Rev John Taylor, who showed great wisdom in asking if it really mattered whether a bodily manifestation of Jesus occurred to validate his teachings and example that laid the foundation of the New Covenant to which we subscribe. I used his assurance to good effect, when my children expressed similar doubts in their mid-teens, which influenced them to follow Christ’s example in a life of compassion, charity and tolerance that not all good church going folk can lay claim to.
In this I see the greatest challenge facing Christian churches of all denominations, who fail to accommodate the questioning attitudes of younger generations, thereby allowing our faith to fall into decline. Visual evidence points not only to diminishing congregations, but also a breakdown in the moral and ethical values on which our faith is based. More seriously it estranges children from their elders, who uphold their religious affiliations. Belief in resurrection like Immaculate Conception and miracles are held up as unreal and unbelievable by sceptical disbelieves. These views are on the increase, and have become convenient excuses for ridiculing otherwise credible beliefs. Compared with the decline in Christian values, Islam has become the fasted growing religion. Its simple message based on one God and one Prophet is better understood than the Holy Trinity and the community of Saints that form the foundation of our religion.
Unless the current trend can be halted we have good reason to assume that the Reformed branch of Christianity will shrink out within two generations to a level, where it is no longer sustainable. We see evidence of this in our own congregation. Greater acceptance of the legacy of Jesus the man as an emissary of God, to whom he returned on completion of His mission, rather than be portrayed as a mythical, super-natural figure will be more acceptable in our contemporary society. In essence it means that in order to succeed in restoring the place of our faith in society, Churches need to adapt to millennial attitudes in order to survive. It is unthinkable that God would want us to succumb.