It is one thing to hear: “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up the cross and follow me.” It is quite another to literally give up our own way, physically pick up that cross and make those sacrifices as we focus on following Jesus.
This week: 1. We are dealing with effects of a ferocious string of winter storms. Many without power, especially in Texas. 2. Continuing issues with COVID-19 mostly centered around distribution of the vaccine. 3. Dealing with serious food shortages many children and families in our area.
Now, we are in the Christian season of Lent. At first, I wondered, how can we think about Lent with all these calamities facing us? But I realized something important: Lent is when we focus on enhancing our relationship with God. Remembering Christ’s life, ministry, and death through prayer, reading the Bible and helping others also teaches how God is with us even in a crisis.
Love on the Cross: is about two major forces that control the human personality: Love and Fear. Love on the Cross is the story of how love through the power of the cross can defeat the power of fear. “Perfect love drives out fear.” Jesus is our example of perfect love.
Putting on an apron and serving others can seem monotonous and frustrating at times but the joy of helping someone can be immensely fulfilling. DAIL Community describes their purpose: “to practice God’s commandment to love each other, spread the Good News to others and to live our lives like Jesus stretching out our hands to our abandoned neighbors thus creating a more beautiful world. It starts with anything; it starts with me; it starts now.”
“Where are we going?” I’m not sure. “What is the road ahead?” I don’t know. What I do know is churches are discovering new mission fields for Biblical teaching and ministry. Every week I hear or read about people connecting or reconnecting with God whether in person, through the internet or Social Media.
Then God said to me: “Preach to these dead people and say to them, ‘Dead people, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord says. I will breathe into your dead bodies and you will come to life. You will begin to smile at one another and once again offer a hug. You will welcome strangers, visit the sick and volunteer to help the helpless. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” Can God still breathe life into the church? Yes! But are we ready to receive God’s answers?
When it comes to the church, people are suspicious, resistant, and even hostile. Many say: the church is irrelevant and unrelated to their daily lives. Yet, during this pandemic churches often responded with more faith than fear. More perseverance than panic. We felt challenged but we trusted God to guide us.
Years ago, I invited two friends to visit our church on Christmas Eve and share “Clown Communion.” That night, during the service, two clowns entered the sanctuary much to the surprise of everyone. Why would two clowns come to a church at such a sacred moment?