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The Cross Tells The Story

February 14, 2024


Leadership Notes


     On most things, I usually land somewhere between cynicism and gullibility. When I fall into a misanthropic rut, the cynic raises his ugly head.


     True to my pledge, I did not watch the Super Bowl. I did catch the buzz about some of the commercials. As we were returning from our long weekend up in Marquette {we are blessed to live in such a wonderfully diverse state}, “Heart of God,” by Zach Williams came on the radio. Here are the first two verses:


I know you're hurtin', I can see it in your eyes

So pull back the curtain and take off your disguise

Whoever told you, you ain't worth the fight

The cross tells a story that'll change your mind

'Cause there's only love in the heart of God

No room for shame in His open arms

There's beauty from ashes, so come as you are

And there's only love in the heart of God


      Here’s another verse:


No, He's not sittin' there shakin' His head

Writin' you off, leavin' you lost

He's not sittin' there shakin' His head

Wishin' He'd never went to that cross

He's not sittin' there shakin' His head

Writin' you off, leavin' you lost

He's not sittin' there shakin' His head

He went to that cross, He went to that cross


     We love that song. And then it hit me. A commercial for the Super Bowl. Edited version of that song…must include the verses quotes…with vignettes of worship services. From all kinds of churches from around the world. Singing…Praising…Baptizing…Christmas Eve…Easter…Right-to-Life Sunday…Weddings…Funerals…Great varieties of worship spaces and worshiping communities…that’s the ad. I know – brilliant.


     Two quotes drive the direction of that ad:


“We’re WAY too worried about whether Jesus Gets Us when we

should be focused on whether we Get Him.”


     And then there’s this one from Samuel Sey:


“Christ didn’t come to earth to rescue you from poverty and

diseases…

He didn’t come to earth to rescue you from racism and

injustices…

He came to earth to rescue you from sin and hell…

Don’t let the prosperity gospel and social justice gospel distract

you from the real gospel.”


     Please grab your Bible and take a moment to read John 13:1-17…


     Welcome back. Remember, a primary principle in Bible interpretation is context. The context here is the Last Supper in the upper room, the night before Jesus’ crucifixion. The primary point was to display his humility and servanthood in forgiving sinners. It foreshadowed Jesus’ ultimate act of humility and love on the cross.


     Here are some essential take-aways from John 13:


> Jesus is the One who forgives.


> Living in this wicked world means we need daily washing – our sins forgiven by Christ.


> And then, as we’ve learned from Galatians and James and Jude, to name a few, we

live out of the gift of salvation by loving others. As Paul said in 2 Timothy 3, the Bible

equips us for every good work. The cross cleanses us for that Bible-driven purpose.

We love each other, we loves our neighbors, and we love our community.


     That is a message lost people need to hear. Sharing the meaning of Jesus washing his disciple’s feet is never a bad thing.


     From one extreme to another. What those watching the big event didn’t need was the President of the United States whining about, of all things, product shrinkage. Oof! It was embarrassing, awkward, and irrelevant. How about shrinking the deficit, aid to foreign countries, money sent to the  UN, and the taxes we pay? Now that’s shrinkage I could live with. Even in the midst of such madness, we will continue to follow the servanthood example of Jesus.


     And now, something to cluck about:


“Make sure your spouse eats as many eggs as you do.”


“Why?”


“Because the Bible says it’s important to be equally yolked.”


     I’ll show myself out…


With Much Love and Affection,


Richard


p.s. - I will never wash anyone’s feet but my own. It’s a symbolic act, not a literal command or sacrament. Foot washing reenactments are disgusting! Feet are gross.

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