EASTER 2020

Jim
Barton

DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL INITIATIVES

As Director of Special Initiatives, Jim focuses on providing increased connectivity among Covenant Partners and coordination for other special projects.  Jim has a background in ministry and agriculture, where he has experience coordinating teams, leading projects, and creating growth.  A graduate of Auburn University and Duke Divinity School, Jim is pursuing ordination in the Anglican Church of North America.

Fuller Center volunteers serve as the hands and feet of God in our world.

This Easter clearly shows our interconnectedness

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.

And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

Luke 24: 36-43

There are few times where we are more reminded of Jesus’ embodied nature, his corporality, than at Easter. Recall Mel Gibson’s landmark film “The Passion of the Christ.” In scene after scene we are confronted with the fleshiness of the Messiah. He was a human being, a man, not just an abstract idea or a heavenly light. He suffered, He bled, He died.

And when he rose from the grave, on his resurrection at Easter, he did not leave his body behind. He was not raised a ghost, he was raised a new man, a new creation, the firstborn of the resurrected. As Luke instructs us in the passage quoted above, his hands and feet still bore the wounds of his crucifixion; he was no mere spirit, but a man of flesh and bones who could even share meals with his disciples. Even at his ascension, Jesus’ body participated, and he now reigns in heaven still as a man.

Christ’s incarnation was permanent. What began at Christmas is eternal.

And we, too, are incarnate. Creatures made by God, living at a particular time and in a particular place. Our embodiedness means much for our mission. Each individual whom we cross paths with is another creature whom God loves.

In the time of coronavirus, we’ve all become more aware of our interconnectedness. Even as we have been ordered to shelter-in-place and quarantine, we cannot help but notice how much we depend upon each other for the things that are essential for our subsistence — much less our thriving! As the Book of Common Prayer puts it: “grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil.”

Where would we be now without the continued toil of so many? The truck drivers and delivery folk who have kept our essential supply chains moving. The farmers who have made sure our food supply remains stable. The foresters and paper mills who must be churning out toilet paper like they’ve never done before! And of course the health care workers who are risking their lives to care for the sick under incredibly straining circumstances. These are our nation’s heroes at this crucial moment.

And, in this moment, when we are “discerning the body” (1 Cor 11:29), we must also remember those being crushed under the weight of this crisis. Those who have lost jobs, those whose food security and housing security now looks tenuous at best and whose prospects worsen with each passing day.

At the Fuller Center for Housing, we work each day to solve these very problems. We are working to eliminate poverty housing by providing a hand up, not a handout. And our current crisis is revealing to more and more people just how critical this mission really is. In your local community, where you live and where you worship, there are people who do not enjoy simple, decent housing and the stability that comes from that.

As the church, we simply cannot stand for that. We must work together to demonstrate Christ’s love for all. Join us as we work to follow the resurrected Christ’s example, embodying afresh his living hands and feet.

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One Comment

  • Just like your sermons, a wonderful and heartfelt message, Jim! Your faith, love, and devotion for your Savior are a true inspiration to us all! Happy Easter to you and your precious family!

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