Monday, April 26, 2010

God's Plan

This week at Bible study we were talking about God’s plan.
What is God’s plan?
How do we know what it is?
In the Bible God’s plan is odd it takes twist and turns.
Just when you think it is all settled something happens and the whole things goes in a different direction.
For example, just after Joseph is reunited with his brothers, after they have forgiven one another, after they became successful in the land of Egypt, then the Israelites become slaves to Pharaoh.
God rescues the Israelites from slavery, drowns Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea.
All is well, and then they have to wonder in the dessert.
Just when they get to the promised land.
No sooner had they settled in when they are then attacked again and again until they are taken into captivity.
And on and on it goes like this one thing after another.
Even in the New Testament, finally the messiah comes, the word becomes flesh and walks among us.
And then he dies on a cross, only to be raised again, and then leave behind his followers the Church.
If you have any involvement with any church you know this was not a good idea.
This is a crazy plan.

Which leads me to this morning’s Gospel.
Because this morning’s Gospel in John to me explains God’s plan perfectly and clearly.
“My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.”
This is God’s plan.
That we will be the sheep, and he will care for us, and nothing will be able to snatch us away from God.
That is God’s plan.
It is a brilliant plan.
Because it depends not on us but on God.
It depends on God to keep us near to him, and to stop us following other things that might lead us away from God.

There is a problem with this plan of course.
We all know how hard it is to believe this plan.
When things in our life go off track.
When we go off track then it is hard to believe that God has not let us go.
We need to have faith in this plan.
We need to believe in Jesus for this plan to make sense.
Not that believing in Jesus is even really something we do.
It is God who gives us to Jesus.
The plan is that we, those of us hear this morning, are the ones God has chosen.
We have been given to Jesus.
Because God gave us to Jesus we know his voice and we follow him.

But let us go back to our problem.
When things go off track, or off script, or not according to plan what do we do then?
Do we still have faith, do we still believe, that Jesus Christ is there to make sure that we are not snatched away?

I was thinking this week about all the times in my life when I could have died.
There was this one time when I was about 11.
I was riding my bike around my neighborhood with my mom.
There was this really steep hill that I would go very fast down.
As I was going down this person was backing out of their drive way.
I saw it happening but could not stop in time.
I closed my eyes waiting for the impact.
Somehow, the person pulling out of the drive way stopped right before he backed into me.
I could tell you a million stories like this one.
I bet you could tell me a million stories like this one too.
I see these stories as signs from God that I am suppose to be here right now.
Because there are a lot of people out there who have stories like these that don’t end in them surviving.
They are people of faith too.
My point is this all of life is about inches.
The wall between living and dying is thin, and it is always in God’s hand.
What gives me confidence is that whether I live or die I am in God’s hands.
Jesus promises us eternal life and so dying in this world is not as bad as it would seem at first.
That is my faith in the plan.
It is in God’s plan for my life, and for yours.

But this still does not answer the most difficult questions.
The first funeral I did as an ordained pastor was for a five year old girl.
One day she was healthy and happy.
The next day she was dead.
It was tragic.
This was a good family.
They loved God deeply, they served God in their lives.
They were not perfect, but they were really good people.
How could this happen to them?
When I sat with the family I had no answers.
What was the point of this?
Was this God’s plan?
Could this be God’s plan?
We all have things like this in our lives.
We have things that rock our core beliefs, challenge our thinking about God.
We all have things that have happened to us that we want answer for, that we don’t fully understand.

For the family of the five year old girl all I had to give them was God’s plan.
All I know in faith is what is promised through Jesus Christ.
What I believe to my inner core is that Jesus gives us eternal life, and we are never snatched away from God.
Even when we don’t understand the details.
Even when we don’t know why this or that happens to us in our lives.
What we can be sure of is that God is there for us.
God is holding us in his hand, and God will not allow us to be snatched away.

Perhaps even in our darker times God finds us there too.
The crucifixion of Jesus for example allows us to have a deeper understanding of God.
For in the crucifixion we see the lengths of God’s love for us.
Here in Christ we see the lamb who takes away the sins of the world.
In the crucifixion we see that God’s love is poured out into us.
That is a relentless God we have.
God will not allow us to get off the track of the plan, even when we want to.

You see all the things that happen in the Biblical witness are just life.
They are things that happen all around us.
Life, death, war, oppression, injustice, militaristic arrogance, sin, redemption, sibling rivalry, love, hate, rejection, acceptance, disbelief, faith.
All of these things are human, and through it all God is working out the plan.
To have all the sheep come home, to call everyone to God self.
To give eternal life and have no one snatched away to death or evil.

Like it says in the beloved psalm 23, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I shall fear no evil; for you are with me.”
All the time we are walking in the shadow of death, but because we have faith in the good shepherd we have faith that God is working all things out for good.

I have no answers for you about your particular situation.
Why did I lose my job?
Why are my kids not going to church?
Why were my parents crazy?
Why did my best friend die?
All I know is that whatever situation you are in right now.
Whatever situation you are facing in your life I know that God is with you.
I know that Jesus the good shepherd will not let anyone snatch you away from his hand.
I know and believe in God’s plan that goodness and mercy shall follow us all our days, and that we shall have eternal life.

So, today as we leave here as our lives continue to twist and turn let us have faith and believe in Jesus Christ who cares for us, and will not let anything snatch us away.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Let's Try the Other Side of the Boat!

We live in cynical times.
Many people don’t trust the government.
Something like 70% of people disapprove of the job congress is doing.
Many people don’t trust religious institutions.
A recent Harris poll found that only 28% of people trusted religious institutions.
In the same poll only 4% of people trusted Wall Street.
We don’t trust our sports stars, or movie stars.
We are fed a daily dose of scandal, of bad behavior by even those we think might be our heroes.
This leads us to be cynical about what is possible in the world.
But this morning we come to worship the Risen Lord.
We come to see again that in this world, in our lives there are great possibilities.
That a resurrection faith calls us to reorder our lives and look again at what is really possible.

In this morning’s Gospel the disciples have seen the empty tomb.
They have heard Jesus bring them peace and send them out into the world.
And now they are back at work.
They are back to what they know best fishing.
And into their fishing comes Jesus the risen Lord.
They had been fishing all night and caught nothing, until Jesus appears and tells them to fish on the other side.
“Oh the others side”
I wonder why they never thought of that before.
It would have seemed more obvious.
Anyway, they do what Jesus says and then well then they catch a bunch of fish.
You see it is time to return to our work, but since we live in light of the resurrection it is time to do it a different way.

We are sent by Christ not as people that see the bad only.
But as people who see through the bad to a different time and place.
We see that this world is not as bad as some would have us believe.
We see that God can and will do great things through ordinary sinful people.

Let us this morning consider the case of Peter.
Here is the disciple that denied Jesus three different times.
And yet here is the disciple who Jesus sends to be the shepherd.
Jesus sends Peter to feed and tend his sheep.
Jesus is the good shepherd, but he asks Peter this flawed sinful person to do his work.
Feed my sheep.

This is Good News for us.
Because as flawed as we are, we too are called to something greater.
Not because we are great, but because we worship Jesus who is greater than our sin.
Think about it.
Our lives are not useless or meaningless they are filled with value and meaning.
We are called to be Shepherd’s to feed and tend the cares and needs of our neighbors.

What does it look like for us to serve God in this way?
Well, I think it can look different for all of us.
That what God calls each of us to do is different even if the end result is the same.
For some being a good Shepherd might be being a good mother.
It might mean giving up some of what we want in the world to make sure that our children are cared and fed for.

For some it might mean that they serve the world through their work.
A mechanic for example is a great shepherd.
I am always thankful to them for fixing my car so that I can get to work or visit people.
They provide something that no one else can.

I think for the church it means caring about all people in whatever part of their life journey they happen to be at.
I think it means being there for people when they are born, and when they die.
It means caring for the poor and lost.
It means taking in those who have no other way.
It means teaching and preaching about the abundant grace of God.
A Sunday school teacher serves as a shepherd for the kids in her class.

Here is the key that whatever we do we ask what God is calling me to.
That is the key question because otherwise it might just be what we want to do.
As Jesus tells Peter someday he will be led to places he does not want to go all for the sake of the Gospel.
We are led not to where we want but to where God forces us to go.
And that place will look different in the light of resurrection.

I was reading this week about woman named Heather Chester who was homeless.
She was a mother with two kids.
She got into a program called Family promise.
This is faith based program that helps homeless families.
Heather just bought her first home, because of the help she got from Family Promise.
This article got my attention because we are trying to get a family promise program started here in Concord.
But it also caught my attention because it is a good example of faith communities doing what Jesus told Peter to do.
It is a good example of people of faith feeding the sheep of God.

And there are millions of stories out there in the world that are like this.
There are stories of people feeding others people helping others and people doing good for God.
We don’t hear them enough.
We live in cynical times, but my plea is for us not to be cynical.
Instead let us to see our risen Lord standing on the shore telling us to try again from a different angle to cast our nets on the other side.

I once got a fortune cookie that said, “If the world seems cold then light a fire.”
I thought it was excellent advice because that is the only answer of faith is to try and try again until we find what does work.
If we cannot catch fish on this side of the boat perhaps there are more fish on the other side.
If we are discouraged the best answer is simply to go out and feed God’s sheep.
It is to continue to search until we find the right answer.
But the answer can never be cynicism.
It can never be defeatism.
For Jesus is alive.
Jesus is on the beach telling us to throw our nets in a different way.
Jesus is there telling us to feed his sheep even as he prepares breakfast for us.

I have to tell you that all my sermons are meant for me just as much as they are meant for you.
This week I needed to hear this sermon again because well sometimes I fall into the cynical category.
I too despair at times that things are not better in our world.
Twice this week I had to turn away people that came to me looking for help.
In both cases I did what was necessary.
I simply could not help, but it makes you feel powerless.
It made me feel sad that we live in a world where people are homeless because of medical expenses, or losing a job.
It might lead to the attitude that we can do nothing.
But I needed this morning to hear Jesus tell me to throw out my nets again.
I needed to hear Jesus say, “Feed my sheep”.
Because I know that it will not always be so.
I know that someday God will make this right.
I know that there are people in the world trying to do good and solve problems.
I know that God has called this community together to feed and tend his sheep.
I have faith in God and in you.
That together we can and will do what God has called us to do.
And that is why this morning I am not cynical but hopeful, why I am not despairing but believing in God’s good work in all of us.

May we not grow cynical but continue to try again, may we continue to cast out our nets, and feed the other sheep.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Get Out of the Locked Room

Every Year the same thing happens to me after Easter.
I get the post Easter blahs.
Easter is such a wonderful day in the church year.
It is my favorite time all year.
This year was especially satisfying.
The weather was beautiful, the church was full, the breakfast tasted great, the music was awesome.
When I went to bed at night I could hardly sleep thinking about what a great day it had been.
And well Monday morning is always a letdown.
I always get the post Easter blues.
I wonder if this is what it is like for anyone else?
Or is this just a pastor thing?
But I was thinking that perhaps every Monday is like that for all of us.
You have a great weekend.
You go to visit people, you spend time with your family and friends, you unwind and share good time.
And then on Monday you return to the grind.
You go back to work, the kids go back to school and practices.
The pace increases and you have to run around again.
I think we would all agree that it would be nice to remain on the high of Easter, the high of a great weekend.

But this morning’s Gospel is after that first Easter morning.
After the disciples have discovered the empty tomb.
It is Easter night.
There is fear and confusion.
The disciples are locked away in a room out of fear.
And in Comes Jesus.
Jesus offers them peace.
But he will not let them stay in that room.
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
In other words tomorrow is Monday and on Monday there is work to be done you cannot sit in this room forever.
Jesus breaths the Holy Spirit into them and then tells them to get out, because tomorrow is Monday and on Monday the Gospel must be preached, sins must be forgiven, people must know that Jesus is alive.

This week was for me one of the busiest I have had since becoming your pastor.
It was as if Jesus was telling me, “no time to sit around and celebrate. It is Monday and there is work to be done.”
Every night this week we had some meeting or other at church.
This week we met with LSS about starting a community circle to help a refugee family.
This weekend was the youth lock-in in Milford, yesterday was the Northern area mission assembly, and today is the Holocaust remembrance service at the synagogue where I signed up to be a part of the service.
I was wondering why my week was so busy and I think it was Jesus sending me out and not allowing me to rest on the high of Easter.

Because what we know is this.
That Easter the church was filled, but Monday it is not.
Monday people return to their lives and that is where the Gospel is most important.
There is work to be done.
There is many people out in the world who still do not have a consistent relationship with Jesus.
We my friends are sent to tell them about Jesus so that they may have life in his name.
Jesus will not allow us to stay here in this place.

No the work has to be done on Monday morning.
We have to go out and tell others about the risen Lord, so that they will experience Jesus for themselves.

Let me tell you what I think we are not called to do.
That is bring people to church.
I know that it sounds crazy.
But our goal is not to get people into our church.
No our goal is to go out and build real relationships with real people and help them know Jesus.

Notice Jesus does not say to the disciples, “Go out and get some people and then bring them back into this locked room. So they can see me.”
He says go out there and tell others that their sins are forgiven.
Tell others that they have life in my name.
Our evangelism strategies for too long have been focused on keeping our church alive.
Instead of focused on helping other know that Jesus is alive.

Let me give you two examples based on my own experience of what I am taking about.
The first one is what we might think is what we should be doing.
Pat who is thirty-five, is married, and has two kids comes to church one Sunday.
I being a good pastor introduce myself.
I talk to him about the church, and the entire ministry happening there.
I try really hard to convince him that this church is the best Church ever.
He tells me that he lives nearby and is looking for a faith community.
We talk and I believe that he is coming back.
I never see Pat again in church.
In this case I was selling the church not Jesus.
It was a lesson to me about what it really means to do ministry with people.
I did not go into that conversation concerned with Pat as a person to me he was a number.

Second example, I was on the church steps one day and I saw one of the neighbors of the church in there yard.
She waves to me.
I go over and we start talking about life and what not.
She tells me about some of her struggles with her job and boyfriend.
I listen and am genuinely concerned about her life.
Not once in the conversation do I invite her to church.
I tell her that I am praying for her.
The next time I see her I ask how things are going, we talk some more.
Again I tell her I am praying for her.
The next Sunday she sends her two kids to Sunday School.
We start to talk about faith in those meetings we have over the fence.
She tells me how her kids love Sunday school.
She tells me that she would come to church, but she is divorced and living with her boyfriend.
I tell her no problem, we preach grace in our church.
I tell her that Jesus preached love, acceptance, and forgiveness.
She starts coming to church.
I never thought she would come.
In this case I was concerned about the person.
I really never thought about her coming to church.
I have learned this lesson in my time as a pastor.
When I want someone to come to church, and I work really hard at it, then it does not happen.
When I want to build relationships with people, when I desire to know them and their lives, when I allow the Holy Spirit to work then everything exceeds my expectations.

On Monday this is what we are called to do go out and love others.
Listen to their stories offer forgiveness and life.
Allow Jesus to become part of their life struggles their stories.
Let me be clear we should invite people to church.
But we should do it because that is what is best for the person and their faith journey.
Not because we want our church to grow.

Let me make a promise to all of you.
If we build authentic relationships with people.
If we connect their real lives to the risen Lord.
If they can feel his hands and touch his side, and see that he is risen.
If we offer ourselves to be sent out into the world to reach others then I do believe the unintentional consequence will be that our church will grow.

So on this Monday as you return to the work you are called to.
As you go back to your busy schedule, remember that Jesus is sending you out into that real world to listen to people and their stories,
To connect them to Jesus.
to tell them about the forgiveness of sins.
To tell that about the risen Jesus Christ so that they may have life in his name.

Monday, April 5, 2010

No Idle Tale: Jesus is Alive!!

Jesus is alive!!!
That is no idle tale.
It is the truth and the story that we proclaim this morning.
It is the why we celebrate, why we sing alleluia.
The story we tell means as much today as it did those many years ago when the women heard it from the angels.
But it does to us at times seem like an idle tale.
How can someone really raise from the dead?
We like the apostles are sometimes confused by the story and the announcement.

Jesus is alive!!!

Unless like the women we “remember his words”.
Remember the words that Jesus speaks to us.
They are words that tells us that death will not defeat life, that hatred and evil will not defeat love, that despair will not win over hope.
The words of Jesus are the words that generations of Christians have passed on to the next.
Mothers and fathers, grandparents sharing with their children the eternal message of Easter.

Jesus is alive!!!

What does this mean for us today?
It means that we too can share our stories of being alive, of coming out of despair into hope, of knowing the eternal truth of Jesus promise to life everlasting.
This is why we pass on to others the story that

Jesus is alive!!!

We mean that we have experienced in our own lives the power and glory of the Easter story.
That it is not an idle tale to us, but a very real tale of what it means to be a human being and experience God in our lives.
Just this week I have heard and experienced many stories of resurrection.
That help me to tell you this morning that

Jesus is alive!!!

The first story I read in the Boston Globe.
It was about Bernie Carbo.
For those of you who are not baseball fans, or worse those of you who are Yankee fans let me remind you of who Bernie Carbo is.
Bernie Carbo was the pitch hitter who hit the game tying 3 run home run in the eighth inning of game 6 of the 1975 world series.
The famous game when Carlton Fisk won the game in the 11th inning with a dramatic home run just fair.
The story was about how Bernie Carbo was a drug addict.
In fact, when he hit that home run he was on a lot of drugs.
But now Bernie Carbo is a Christian.
He is a man who knows the power of the risen Christ.
Bernie said, “I threw away my career, If I knew Jesus Christ was my savior at 17, I would have been one heck of a ballplayer, a near Hall of Famer. Instead, I wanted to die.”

Because Bernie Carbo knows Jesus as his savior he chose life.
Today he runs baseball camps that teach kids about baseball and faith.
“To watch people come back to the Lord, it’s better than hitting that World Series home run in 1975. Guaranteed. Ten times. Hundreds of times better,’’ Carbo said.
Bernie Carbo knows that the story of the resurrection is no idle tale, and he knows for sure that

Jesus is alive!!!!

This week I went to visit one of our members Maude-Esther Hibbard.
Not too long ago she was diagnosed with cancer.
It was in most of her body.
Last week she went for her test, and today she is living almost cancer free.
Maude told me “I did not do this alone. God was with me.”
Through the prayers of people at our church, and her family Maude Esther felt the strength that comes with knowing Jesus.
The story of the resurrection is no idle tale to Maude Esther she knows that

Jesus is alive!!!

This year I have sat with members of our congregation who were dying.
They knew they were dying.
And in each case they witnessed to us about resurrection faith.
In each case they told me they were not afraid to die that they knew that Jesus words were true and that they were going to be with their savior.
They knew that the story of the resurrection was no idle tale.
They knew that

Jesus is alive!!!

Finally, yesterday our Sunday School went to two nursing homes to sing Easter songs and bring joy to others.
In each case we saw the joy in the eyes of people as the children sang songs about Jesus and rejoiced in the resurrection.
Yesterday, in places were people are living closer to death there was life and it was in abundance.
The residence brought just as much joy to us as we did to them.
When we help one another and love one another we feel the presence of the risen Christ.
To us who were there yesterday the resurrection is no idle tale.
We know that

Jesus is alive!!!

Indeed Jesus is alive!!!
The angels proclaim it, the women tell the story, and we repeat over and over.
We should no longer look for him in the places of death, but we should see Jesus in the stories that we tell about how we live.
We should see Jesus in our second chances, in the power to endure, in the promise of eternal life, and in the way we care and love for one another.

This story is important and we must continue to share it.
Even if people think we are telling idle tales, because someday they may need it.
They may need to know when they are going through a hard time that Jesus is alive.
And when they remember that story their hope, love, and faith will be restored just as ours is every time we tell the story and proclaim with a loud and clear voice that

Jesus is alive!!!!


Lead Us to the Cross

A Good Friday meditation based on the song, Lead Me to the Cross.

I don’t want to look.
I don’t want to see.
My savior is betrayed
Mocked shouted at.
I can’t watch
Because when I look I see that it is me who has done these things to you
I am the one who betrays you.
I am the one who denies you.
I am the one who leaves you.
I am the one who mocks you.

You spoke forgiveness
You shared love
You preached good news
You helped the poor, lame, and blind.
You send the kingdom of God was at hand.
This is not how it is suppose to end.
Where is the glory?
Where is the kingdom?

But when I look deeper I am lead to see something else.
When I look deeper I see you give yourself up freely.
I see you give yourself over to the Father’s will.
I see you heal those who came to arrest you.
I see you offer the kingdom even to a criminal.
I see you concerned about women and children who weep for you.
I see you ask for our forgiveness.
I see you give your spirit into the hands of God.

Even there at the cross you lead us.
You lead us to see forgiveness, mercy, and love
Lead us again and again to the cross to see you offer yourself for us.
Lead us to the cross to see our sin and your forgiveness.
Lead us to the cross to quiet our souls.
Lead us to the cross to your heart.
Lead us to the cross to see through our sin and death to your forgiveness and love.

Friday, April 2, 2010

An Invitation to Journey to the Cross

You can understand Peter’s reaction to Jesus wanting to wash his feet.
You can understand why he says to Jesus, “you will never wash my feet.”
Jesus is his Lord and teacher.
Jesus is the Lamb of God who comes to take away the sins of the world, the son of God.
No way should Jesus be washing feet.
Washing feet is the job of a servant or slave.
This is not something messiahs do.
Because Peter is taken by surprise he reacts negatively to what Jesus is doing.
For us now here tonight it all makes sense.
Of course Jesus would wash his disciple’s feet.
The Messiah is the one who humbly comes to give his life for us.
But that is because we live on this side of the cross.
Jesus tells Peter that someday he will understand.
After his death and resurrection Peter will understand just as we understand.

But here on this Maundy Thursday we are invited to be once again surprised by Jesus actions.
Once again we are invited into the journey that Jesus takes to the cross.
We are once again asked to ponder its profound meaning.
So that we are surprised that the one into whose hands all things had been given uses those hands to bend down in love and wash our feet.

Jesus expresses in this act all that we need to know about him.
That although he had equality with God he humbled himself to the point of a slave.
In doing he brings us into this journey we take with Jesus to the cross.
What a glorious act of love Jesus performs for his disciples.
In the reflection of the cross we see it even more clearly.

We can see it more clearly in our lives.
That Jesus washes our feet, is committed to us, and cares and loves us always.
For Jesus’ love for his disciples goes beyond merely having a good feeling about them.
It is deeper and wider than that, it is a love that is about no matter what.
That no matter what Jesus loves these disciples.
That even though there at the table is his betrayer, and denier.
Even though they all will flee, and hide in fear.
Jesus still loves them and washes all their feet.
Jesus’ love is astonishing because it is really a love that goes beyond what he may feel about them or what they are about to do.
It is a grace that says no matter what I love and care for you.
And that love and grace will come to a full completion as he opens his arms to all on the cross.

That is what Jesus is inviting Peter into at the table is the journey of the cross.
A Journey of sacrifice and love.
To be washed by Jesus means to be taken into the event of the cross and lead to see the depths of God’s love.
This is why Jesus tells Peter that “unless I wash you, you have no share with me.”

On the cross Jesus shows us that there is no limit to that love.
No matter who we are.
No matter what we have done.
No matter where we have been.
God’s love is there for us.

Tomorrow night we will hear Jesus say while he is being crucified, “forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Even there in that moment Jesus is reaching out to forgive those who have spit in his face, mocked him, and are killing him.
This is a kind of love that surpasses our human understanding.
It is why Jesus gives his disciples this concrete example of that love so that they will better understand what he does on the cross.

I have a friend whose wife had an affair with her boss.
After he found out about it I went over to his apartment to talk to him.
I thought for sure when I got there he would tell me that his marriage was over.
To my surprise when I got to his apartment he told me he was willing to work it out with her.
He was willing to go to therapy and talk about their marriage and what went wrong.
He was even willing to admit that he made some mistakes.
I told him that he was a better man then me because I was not sure I could forgive such a thing.
But he said he could and he would work to save his marriage.
I could not fully comprehend what he was doing.
But after I thought about it I realized that he was showing me the meaning of love and commitment.

This is the kind of love and commitment that Jesus shows to his disciples and us.
It is a deep and strong.
It keeps no record of past wrongs.
It desires only our love and trust in return.
It is the kind of love we experience each and every week as we come to the Lord’s table to share in his body and blood.
Do this for the remembrance of me.
Do this to remember my love and commitment to you.
Do this to remember that your sins are forgiven.

That is what we do tonight.
We remember that Jesus invites us to journey to the cross.
We remember his humble giving of his life for us.

This week I was in the local coffee shop preparing for services this week.
And I was watching people come and go.
I saw people going about their daily routines of going to work, drinking coffee, and running errands.
I was wondering as I watched people go about their everyday work.
Did they remember what Jesus Christ did for them?
Did they remember the depths of Christ love?
Most people do not want to know about Christ death.
It is too gruesome for them.
It is too sad.
They like Easter of course.
They like the eggs and the good feelings.
But the part about sacrifice, the part about dying for others is too uncomfortable.
But here is the truth we can’t know the true joy of Easter morning without this part.
We can’t know the depths of God’s love without knowing what Jesus did for us on the cross.
If we want to fully realize and understand the depth and strength of God’s love then we have to remember the sacrifice, the humble service, the commitment to follow God’s path.
This is why Jesus washes his disciple’s feet so that they will have a clear example of what he does for them on the cross.
Jesus is preparing them and inviting them into the journey of the cross.

Tonight Jesus invites us into that journey.
Jesus washes our feet so that we might be ready for what is to come.
Jesus washes our feet so that we will remember the depths of his love for us.
Let us journey with Jesus to the cross so that we may remember in the depths of God’s love.