I had a fabulous nine days with my Madison this past week travelling all over Spain visiting wonderful sites, experiencing a rich culture, and delighting in hospitable people. It was a father/daughter trip I will never forget! Of particular interest to me were the cathedrals and palaces, especially the gorgeous Alhambra Palace in Valencia. Originally constructed as a Roman fortress in the 9th Century, it was renovated and rebuilt by Muslim rulers in the 13th Century and then expanded upon toward the end of the Renaissance in the late 15th Century. The palace architecture amazingly combines a mix of Christian, Muslim, and even Jewish influences. One of the Islamic features is a limestone etching written in Arabic and pictured below. Translated, it reads, "There is no conqueror but Allah." It is inscribed a whopping 17,000 times throughout the palace. I suppose they wanted to convey a message.
As Christians, we proclaim that the message of Easter is that God in Jesus Christ is the ultimate conqueror, who through his son's death and resurrection actually conquered all forces of darkness and evil, including death itself. On Easter Sunday last week, Gray preached on the ultimate victory through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a wonderful story of the radical hospitality of God.
This Sunday for that "faithful remnant" still around, I will be preaching on Paul's version of the resurrection and the promise it conveys. The question for us to ponder this week is, do you actually believe the promise? And if so, so what? So come join us, one and all, and bring your friends. And for those not around, may travel mercies and rest and renewal abide with you. Have an awesome spring break!
For Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep...For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death."
-1 Corinthians 15: 20, 25, 26
Prayer for Today
Thank you, O God, for the promise of resurrection, for the promise that we can live with you forever. By your Holy Spirit, help us to believe the promise, and may our lives be transformed and made new. Amen.