"Acta Non Verba" - Monday Moment - April 18, 2022

Updated: May 26

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!


Happy Easter Monday, friends!


Recently, I saw a Facebook post from a mother who was trying to answer her five-year-old daughter’s question about the Old Testament: “Why’d they have to kill animals mom, didn’t they just know you could say ‘sorry?’” The mom, being a public theologian with many theologically-minded friends, got a large number of responses (yes, I couldn’t help but get in on that debate). Christian imagery and rhetoric are laden with depictions of the Cross. We wear crosses as symbols of our identity and devotion. We place crosses in our worship spaces. We sing, preach, write, and pray about our salvation rooted in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. It would be easy to think that the story ended with the cross. But had that been the case, our hope would have been in vain. Resurrection must be included in the story of the cross.


Jesus’ death was not the end of the story. On the third day, he overcame death and the grave and rose victorious. His resurrection said clearly that nothing is beyond the power of God. Nothing can contain God, nothing can encompass God, and none of us can fully understand the nature of God. Whatever your theology—from penal and substitutional atonement (shout out to my evangelical and fundamentalist friends) to divine justice for the consequences of sin meriting a time of purification (shout out to my Catholic friends) to the broadest versions of universalism (shout out to my UCC and Christian Universalist friends)—whatever your theology, our story as Christians is rooted in not just the death of Christ, but in both his death and his resurrection.


Because our story is rooted in resurrection, our story is also built on action. Several years ago, I had the privilege of becoming an associate with the Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ). The SHCJ is a group of Roman Catholic religious sisters formed by the amazing 19th-century woman, Cornelia Connelly. Largely a teaching organization, the SHCJ’s motto is “Actions, not words.” I wear a cross and a small medal with the words acta non verba, the Latin for that motto. While our actions may not save us, our actions are necessary to the expression and life of our faith.


Upon what actions is your faith built? How can you put your faith into action during this Easter season?


Let us pray (using words attributed to St. Francis): Lord, make us instruments of your peace: where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.O divine Master, grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.


Blessings, friends, on your week! Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Faithfully,


Ben