Old Mission Congregational UCC

Old Mission, MI

Photography by D. Plasman

It’s been 37 years since my ordination as a Christian minister. I’ve preached at least that many Easter sermons. I can’t claim that I never repeated myself. Here are 12 things I’ve come to believe.

1. Something happened on Easter Sunday.

2. That something was an experience by the disciples that Jesus’ death was not the end of Jesus’ life.

3. That experienced “something” is called the resurrection.

4. The resurrection is God’s affirmative “Yes” to the things about which Jesus was passionate.

5. Considering what we read in all four Gospels, the central message of Jesus was not about “getting to heaven” or “obtaining eternal life.”

6. Jesus was passionate about transforming this world—a world that feeds on injustice and violence—into the world God intends.

7. Because Jesus was passionate about changing the status quo of this world into the world God intends, he was killed by those who benefited most from keeping things as they are.

8. Some who brought about his death were political leaders, some were religious leaders, and others simply enjoyed witnessing public executions. (Much like white Americans who in a bygone era gathered by the hundreds to witness black men and women swinging from nooses.)

9. The question posed by the unidentified men to the women at the tomb (“Why do you seek the living among the dead?” Luke 24:5) was another way of saying, “There’s more than one way to be alive! Don’t imagine because Jesus was cut down in the prime of his life that he doesn’t have the power to change your own.”

10. The best way for me to keep “Christ” in the name “Christian” is to take Jesus seriously when in Matthew 25 he identifies his followers as those who: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome strangers and immigrants, clothe the naked, care for the sick and distressed, and befriend the imprisoned. That’s not a liberal/conservative thing. Nor is it a blue state/red state thing. The biblical prophets, including Jesus, knew it to be a God-thing.

11. To be sure, with much eagerness I lean toward evil and destructive ways! What prevents me from embracing Easterized living is passing up all the good that is within my power to do.

12. Christ is Risen! So are we!

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  1. Jim Veurink April 15, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    Thanks for sharing your insightful thoughts, Dan!
    The more I think I know, the less I really do.

  2. Meghan Pineda April 15, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

    Thank you Dan! I love your perspective and your words. Thank you for continuing to share your insights.

  3. Dave Kidd April 15, 2017 at 8:22 pm #

    Thanks, Dan. Good theology as usual from you! Dave

  4. Jeff Carpenter April 15, 2017 at 11:57 pm #

    Dan, my grandfather Joseph Carpenter taught at the school at Old Mission Point on the peninsula in the early 20th century. Fyi. Thanks for the photo and article. Speaks for me also.

    • Daniel Plasman April 16, 2017 at 7:18 am #

      Jeff, I appreciate knowing of your connection to Old Mission. Plenty of good fishing in those parts, as I’m sure you are aware.

  5. Ana April 16, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

    I’ve been thinking about #7 too much today, very unsettling because it feels too much like today’s reality. Thank you for sharing all 12 of your beliefs. I consider myself lucky to have sat and mused during many of your sermons.

    • Daniel Plasman April 17, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

      Ana, I have benefited as well from our friendship. Stay vigilant!

  6. betty April 18, 2017 at 11:12 am #

    Please don’t forget that black people are killing white policemen. Just making a point.

    Were you there when they nailed Jesus to the tree? Yes I was, and so was ALL people!

    • Daniel Plasman April 18, 2017 at 8:55 pm #

      Betty, I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Not sure from where your “black people are killing white policemen” point is coming from, yet as we have witnessed far too many times from video feeds and cell phone cameras, white police without adequate justification have brutalized/murdered black men, women, and youth.