There are over two billion Christians in the world today. Imagine if we all worked together? Imagine the gifts, the dreams we could accomplish, the visions for a better world. There is so much we could be as the body of Jesus Christ if we could simply learn how to come back together.
There is so much that demands our time and energy and resources in this world. Everything is clamoring over each other to say, “We are the most important thing. Make us top priority” And I admit, sometimes the church even gets that way. We think the most important thing is our tasks, our music, our preaching, our budget, our numbers. And we get so wrapped in all of those things, we forget the core of the gospel. We forget to love one another and love God.
Our job as Christians is to share that message of grace. It is to break down barriers and let the world know that your class, your wealth, your status, your ethnicity, your background, none of that is what defines you. None of that can keep you away from God. What ultimately defines you is the fact that you are beloved by God. You are beloved by God so much that God came into our world and died and rose again for you.
The message of the cross is strange. It is a message of foolishness to those who believe they have made themselves to be wise and worthy. But it is also a message of hope for those who have been called hopeless. It is a message of value and worth for those who have been called nothing. It is a message of strength for those who have been told they are too weak. It is a message of life for those who have only seen death.
Easter is not just a story about Jesus. It is about humanity and about all of us. As Mary is about to go off and tell the rest of the disciples that Christ is alive, Jesus tells her one last thing: “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” In that one phrase, Jesus is telling Mary you are now included with me in everything. This moment, this Resurrection, it’s not just for me. It’s for you. It is for all of you.
As we journey this week towards Calvary, may we not worry so much about religion and labels and who is in and who is out. May we not worry if we don’t know all the traditions and rituals and rules perfectly. Instead, let us reflect on the reason God’s house was built in the first place, the reason this house was built, the reason this community was built – to meet God, to know God’s love, and to shine that love as a light to all people.
Plow – Luke 9:51-62
“The only command God gives to those three disciples on that mountain is to listen. Not to build. Not to make sense of it all. Not to create a religion or rules or buildings or lists of things to do. But just “Listen!” Pay attention. See what Jesus is doing in front of you.”
On that mountaintop, Jesus is telling us about ourselves. He is telling us that we don’t have to go along with whatever the world tells us. We don’t have to give in to either fear or hate. The world will not dictate who we will be and how we will act. We may be attacked. We may face injustice. We may live in a broken and fearful world. But we can stand tall. We can remember that we are children of God, made in God’s image, and that the Spirit of the Holy Ghost resides deep within us, giving us creativity, strength, and a vision for a better world.
We have all been guilty of breaking trust, speaking cruel words, even speaking outright lies. If we do not forgive those who sin against us, we cannot be forgiven. If we do forgive those who have wronged us, God will forgive us. God will forget our sin altogether. God will clothe us in the sparkling white garments of his kingdom and welcome us into our eternal home.