Having just celebrated Easter, I am reminded that the resurrection of Jesus is the unifying factor of every Christian. No matter our tradition or denomination, the story of every Christ follower is one of resurrection. We are a people who have moved from death into new life. That shared experience transcends race, ethnicity, cultures, vocation, occupation and personal preference. Being a people who have moved from death into new life is the birthmark of God’s people. It’s not just the beginning of the story – it is the story.
The resurrection unleashes uncommon people towards uncommon generosity, unity and love. A few weeks ago at the StrikeForce 421 annual breakfast I witnessed this first hand. The Executive Director of First Care ministries won an on-the-spot drawing for a $6,000 grant only to then spontaneously give $3,000 of it away to Hope Womens Center (another crisis pregnancy center in our community). This is not only a beautiful example of uncommon generosity, but it demonstrates how being a people with a shared identity as the people of God — the people of resurrection – should act.
You see, the resurrection isn’t just a historical event in the life of Jesus; it’s an everyday reality for Christians. The resurrection is a promise that something better than before is possible not only for our own lives, but for our friends, neighbors, co-workers and cities. It is through the power of the resurrection that the lostness, brokenness and pain of our communities can be met with faith, hope and love.
God’s people not only share the resurrection in common, but we participate in it through prayer. We pray because the resurrection is true and because nothing reorients our lives back to our shared experience together like prayer. God’s people are all stronger when we come together in prayer because it is through prayer that we are reminded of our common story and are reminded of Whose we are and to Whom we belong. We are God’s people called to bring resurrection realities to those God has entrusted to our influence.
In an ecosystem, the living and physical components are linked together— they need each other in order to survive. God’s people – the Church – operates in the same way. 1 John 3:1 reminds us that we are all linked together as Christ’s children — his sons and daughters. No one church, ministry, leader or organization can bring faith to the faithless, hope to the hopeless and love to the broken-hearted in isolation. Church leaders, those in our pews, new Christians, seasoned Christians, large ministries and small ministries, church plants and long-established churches need one another. We’re all linked together and need one another in order to grow.
However, without rain, an ecosystem dies. Prayer is the rain in the Kingdom of God. In order for God’s resurrection ecosystem to thrive here in South Florida, we need to pray. Far too many of us see the “rain” as money and resources when it is really the movement of God’s Spirit, renewing and resurrecting only things that He can. This only happens when God’s people operate as an ecosystem and pray together – trusting God to do what he alone can do: bring the rain.
Throughout the last several years, we have witnessed God give us grace for this journey in new and unexpected ways. There’s a spirit of unity, collaboration and urgency to see the realities of the resurrection find fresh expression throughout our region. Though it may sometimes seem that the darkness in South Florida is too dark for the light of Christ to shine, the resurrection reminds us that the tomb was dark until the stone was rolled away. Our labor and our prayers are not in vain.
If you’re reading this, I invite you to pray. Pray for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done in South Florida as it is in heaven. Pray for a deeper love for God. Pray that the reality of the resurrection be made more evident in your life and that of your community. Pray for an increase in Christian unity and for a renewed urgency to share your faith.
Edwin Copeland serves as the Director of Church United with the National Christian Foundation of South Florida where he works to unify the Church through collaboration and celebration to see faith, hope, and love spread throughout South Florida. To learn more about Church United, visit churchunited.city.