So, I was working on a sermon the other night and happened to catch some of Jimmy Kimmel on TV. Somewhere during the opening monologue he aired a video that really caught my attention. Let me just say that I will never, ever complain about my mother’s cooking ever again, even though she is the reigning queen of the crispy lasagna.
Honestly, what are you thinking right now? What are the first words that come to mind? We might be thinking, “That’s disgusting! I would never do anything like that!” But the truth is, every day we take in things and allow patterns and behaviors to stand that are detestable and potentially destructive to our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We all mess up and make mistakes, but the good news is that God doesn’t leave us in our pit but has made a way out of the situation we have created for ourselves. The way out is through a cross and empty tomb – all gift, all God!
In the meantime, as God’s loved and forgiven children, purchased by the Blood of the Lamb, Paul gives some challenging words for us to hear. He once said to the church in Corinth, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13) The world today is very much opposed to the things of God and would like nothing better than to spit us, and the God we follow, out. Thus, as followers of Christ, we must always be on guard with the things we surround ourselves with, because there is a high possibility they will become a part of who we are. As we approach Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the things that we are carrying with us in our life’s journey. This is a time for us to come before the cross of Christ and remember all He went through for our sake. Jesus freely went to the cross … was spit out, rejected, felt real pain as spikes were driven into His hands and feet, and hung for all creation to see. This was His mission, to serve, to seek, and to save a people incapable of healing itself. This, my friend, is the most delicious gift we will ever experience, all wrapped in simple bread and wine “given for you”.
I would like to close with one of my absolute favorite passages from Isaiah, that speaks to what this week of Lent is all about:
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. – Isaiah 53:4-6