Wednesday, April 23, 2014

THE MESSAGE OF EASTER

I have heard that possums are smart animals. You wouldn’t think so because you hardly ever see one except when it’s dead on the road. There’s a joke that goes, “why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to the possum that it could be done!” But possums, it turns out, are smart. They won’t enter a hole if there’s just one set of tracks going into it. They know there’s something in there. But if there are two sets of tracks. The possum will enter and not be afraid.

The message of Easter is that we can enter the grave - we don’t have to fear death because there are tracks leading out of the tomb. Paul preached the proclamation of Easter - "'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." This is the message that we need to hear at Easter! Jesus is risen!

-- Author Unknown


#3420

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

CONCERN FOR EVERY LIVING CREATURE

I believe in my heart that faith in Jesus Christ can and will lead us beyond an exclusive concern for the well-being of other human beings to the broader concern for the well-being of the birds in our backyards, the fish in our rivers, and every living creature on the face of the earth.

-- John Wesley, as quoted in The Green Bible


#3319

Monday, April 21, 2014

THE FULL AFFIRMATION OF GOD'S LOVE

The resurrection of Jesus is a hidden event. Jesus didn't rise from the dead to prove to those who had crucified Him that they had made a mistake, or confound His opponents. Nor did He rise to impress the rulers of His time or to force anyone to believe. Jesus' resurrection was the full affirmation of His Father's love.

Therefore, He only showed Himself to those who knew about this love. He made Himself known as the risen Lord, only to a handful of His close friends. There is probably no event in human history that has had such importance, while remaining, at the same time, so unspectacular. The world didn't notice it; only those few to whom Jesus had chosen to show Himself, and whom He wanted to send out to announce God's love to the world just as He had done.

-- Henri Nouwen in "Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring," Christianity Today, Vol. 41, no. 4


#3418

Friday, April 18, 2014

REALLY, LORD…

Really now, Lord Jesus, is our sin so serious as to necessitate the sort of ugly drama we are forced to behold this day? Why should the noon sky turn toward midnight and the earth heave and the heavens be rent for our mere peccadilloes? To be sure, we’ve made our mistakes. Things didn’t turn out as we intended. There were unforeseen complications, factors beyond our control. But we meant well. We didn’t intend for anyone to get hurt. We’re only human, and is that so wrong?

Really now, Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, we may not be the very best people who ever lived, but surely we are not the worst. Others have committed more serious wrong. Ought we to be held responsible for the ignorance of our grandparents? They, like we, were doing the best they could, within the parameters of their time and place. We’ve always been forced to work with limited information. There’s always been a huge gap between our intentions and our results.

Please, Lord Jesus, die for someone else, someone whose sin is more spectacular, more deserving of such supreme sacrifice. We don’t want the responsibility. Really, Lord, is our unrighteousness so very serious? Are we such sinners that You should need to die for us?

Really, if You look at the larger picture, our sin, at least my sin, is so inconsequential. You are making too big a deal out of such meager rebellion. We don’t want Your blood on our hands. We don’t want our lives in any way to bear the burden of Your death. Really. Amen.

-- Will Willimon in The Best of Will Willimon


#3417

Thursday, April 17, 2014

GOD'S PLAN OF REDEMPTION

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit…” (1 Peter 3:18 RSV)

The cross has become the central symbol of the Christian faith. It is truly amazing that such a symbol of torture devised by the Roman Empire to inflict cruel punishment on common criminals would become the most recognizable symbol of love and grace in the world. However, for God’s plan of redemption to be complete, it was not only necessary for Jesus to live and walk among us, but also that He die for the sins of the world. He had to become the perfect, sinless sacrifice which could atone for sins, once and for all.

-- Timothy Tennent in 30 Questions: A Short Catechism on the Christian Faith


#3416