Pastors were asked to consider events other than the Resurrection of Christ.
THE REV. BOB HILL, pastor emeritus, Community Christian Church: Among the legion of candidates for “coolest story in the Bible” — which surely would include the original bequest of the rainbow, Balaam’s talking donkey, Solomon’s extraordinary wisdom, the gift of the Torah at Sinai, the parting of the Red Sea, the prophets’ thundering calls for justice, the raising of Lazarus, the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus’ audience before Pilate, the Spirit’s blessing of the early Church at Pentecost — I would nominate two.
First, Holy Writ for Christians and Jews commences with the immortal words “In the beginning …” Shortly thereafter we witness the creation story (two stories in fact) in full blossom.
And what a majestic, mysterious story it is, cooler than anything Disney or Pixar could ever fashion. Not a geological, historical, or factual accounting of the Earth’s and humanity’s origins — no, there were no dinosaurs during Jesus’ day — but a poetical, theological portrayal of Earth’s generative beauty, humanity’s original blessedness (and eventual waywardness), and the hopes for restoration.
Secondly, prior to his last week of earthly life, Jesus demonstrates to the world why he has come and the manner in which he and his way of life should be received.
In all three of the synoptic gospels, Jesus blesses children: “Let the little children come to me.”
No condemnation of any child, no doctrinal purity mandated. Just simple acceptance and an uplifting of tender child-like faith.
How cool would it be if we could take in the transformative meanings of these two stories for the living of our days?
THE REV. JUSTIN HOYE: pastor, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Kansas City, North: While the creation account of Genesis gives an understanding to who we are, and the Exodus experience offers a template for the transitions that we are asked to undergo, and the Annunciation and Nativity of Jesus celebrate the Incarnation and the gift of “God with us,” if the superlative we’re working with is “coolest,” I suggest the Pentecost experience of Acts 2.
In it, the Apostles and disciples of Jesus are gathered following the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus. While in this one place, the noise of a driving wind from the sky fills the space, tongues as of fire break upon them individually, and all the disciples are suddenly enabled to speak in a variety of languages.
The Holy Spirit transforms recipients into courageous witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Understood to be the birthday of the church, this event is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in which God’s spirit would fall upon a generous portion of mankind (Joel 3:1-5). Just as the Spirit was present at the beginning of creation, now the Spirit’s activity produces a re-creation. Men and women are equipped for their mission to share the saving acts of God with others.
This coolest story relates the renewing power of the Holy Spirit, and how the Spirit’s presence and activity can usher in unity and peace in our own lives and relationships.
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