Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-17
12 But tell me this-since we preach that Christ rose from the dead,why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? 13 For if there is no resurrection of the dead,then Christ has not been raised either. 14 And if Christ has not been raised,then all our preaching is useless,and your faith is useless. 15 And we apostles would all be lying about God-for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. 16 And if there is no resurrection of the dead,then Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised,then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. (NLT)
One of the challenges of taking an overseas holiday is fitting all you want to take in the bags you are allowed to take. You don’t want the practical and financial consequences of taking too much with you. So you begin a sifting process: you discard what you believe is unnecessary,perhaps redefining just what ‘unnecessary’ means. You convince yourself that some things,while useful and important to you,are not essential requirements. You travel relatively light,but you dare not leave your passport or credit cards or flight documentation behind. Some things are so vital you can’t make the journey without them.
It is a bit like this with our faith journeys. I,for one,have jettisoned some things to do with my faith that I once considered were vital but I now see were secondary,perhaps cultural,perhaps arising out of traditions inherited from very early days. I no longer believe some things I once believed.
If this sounds perilously like abandonment of faith,it is not. Because there are some things I cannot abandon. Paul gives one crucial example in this passage: the resurrection of Jesus. Some things like that can’t be given up because to do so would be to make the faith itself futile and fraudulent. Much like trying to take your overseas holiday without a passport.
Some traditions and even cherished beliefs might be left behind as we journey on. We may have concluded they are like excess baggage. But cling tenaciously to the essentials. After all,we don’t take empty suitcases on our overseas trips.