Entering In

Post a Comment » Written on April 15th, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Catherine Gilliard is co-senior pastor of New Life Covenant Church in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her MDiv from North Park Theological Seminary and is a DMin candidate of the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS) with an expected graduation date of May 2015.

The forty day period between the Resurrection and the Ascension of Jesus is often
overlooked. On the church calendar it is called the season of Easter. Many of us
celebrate Easter on one day of the calendar, but it is a season of joyful testimony for
God’s people. For forty days we proclaim that we too are witnesses to the risen Lord.
We have discovered in each of our ministries the evil that happens between Hosanna
and Hallelujah and on during this season of Easter we share the testimony because we
are those witnesses that proclaim, “Jesus Is Alive!”

Life in the 21st century has become complex. Each day we awaken to the mourning unfolding in community after community when we learn that another woman loses a son, another wife a husband, another child a father, another sister a brother, we have a powerful testimony to share. We pastor churches that are often reluctant to speak about the tension present in the daily realities for many who sit in our pews. What can we share with those who are waiting to hear how the gospel really matters in their day to day existence?

grievingOur nation is in a state of mourning and women are carriers and bearers of the good news that Jesus Is Alive! Who can speak to the profound tragedy of losing a son, more than the mother who carried and bore him? Who can speak to the emotional pain of losing a husband, more than a wife who shared life with him? Who can speak of the profound impact of living life without a father, more than a daughter? Who can speak about the loss of companionship in loosing a brother, more than a sister? Women are in pain as the evil destruction of relationships is sweeping our nation. We mourn with those who are mourning and we weep with those who weep. We sit with one another in the pain of grieve and loss knowing that we are called to be witnesses that demonstrate the complexities of loving your enemy and forgiving those who persecute you.

Women clergy are prayerfully and painfully aware of the dark days in which we live
and we are equipping the church to speak in profound ways to the tragedy of living in
these evil days. Women leaders in the church are teaching others how to live with hope
as they experience evil’s destructive power to tear apart families and communities.
Women in the church are called to minister to those experiencing days filled with
despair, anxiety and fear. Whether women are clergy or lay, we are called to equip,
teach and minister with an understanding that we have all been commissioned to carry
a message of deliverance and hope.

Women shift the conversation and bring a different perspective to how people,
families and communities draw hope from the resurrection story. We share not only how
God, our Father watches as His only Son is beaten and killed as a criminal but we also
share about Mary as she watched her Son being targeted, beaten and found guilty of a
crime He did not commit. Mothers across this nation know the agony of Mary who
watched her Son be killed by those in authority. Yet, this is the power of the season of
Easter, our story does not end in death!

The power of the resurrection story reminds us to share how Jesus is coming back,
just as He did on Easter morning and that we too have victory over the grave because
of our saving relationship in Jesus. Women of God weep with others who are weeping,
but we don’t weep as those without hope. We mourn with those who are mourning but
we mourn as those with hope. We have been given power to proclaim this radical –
Jesus Is Alive! Jesus is Here! Jesus is coming! We have a voice of witness in these
days of tension. God’s kingdom is unfolding in the midst of chaos. Let’s speak more
boldly, live more confidently and go with assurance where people are hurting knowing
that Jesus not only sends us but goes with us. Let’s enter in.

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