Not Yet

Jesus died on the Cross.

Our sins are forgiven.

The broken is fixed.   But not yet.

The hurt is gone.  But not yet.

The sin is washed away.   But not yet.

The wounds are healed.  But not yet.

Today and especially tomorrow, we live in the promise that God has and will make all things new.  

But there are still children dying from malnutrition.

There are still medical problems in 3rd world countries that could be cured “here” but aren’t.

There are still children suffering the long term effects of abuse, neglect and trauma.

There are still parents struggling to get their children the help that they need and a system that is supposed to help but by all accounts is failing miserably.

There are still churches and people in those churches who are hurting God’s people more than they are helping.

Why?

I don’t know.

But I know this.   Until there is no longer a “not yet” then there’s work to do.

Work that God wants us to do.   NOT because we need to earn our “spot” in heaven – that’s already taken care of.

Work that God wants us to do – out of gratitude.

Work that God wants us to do – to care for the poor.

Work that God wants us to do – to care about orphans and widows.

Work that God wants us to do – for the least of these.

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” 
attributed to Helen Keller

Want to do something?   Let me know if you want to help.   I’ve got ideas and plans I’m working on……

Tom

“Good” Friday – Really?

Good Friday……

A day focused on pain, suffering, torture, death and grief.

There’s always the cerebral knowledge of why it’s called “Good” Friday but it really doesn’t feel that way.

Tonight, we walk into church.

And sit on the floor.   Why do we sit on the floor?

“It’s just a small reminder of how uncomfortable this day was for Jesus,” says Pastor Joy.

Gulp……

The piano plays.   Hauntingly, powerfully, majestically, evil struggle filled music.

The congregation sits quietly.    Thinking.

Taking in the struggle that is going on.

The cross takes up the center of the stage – but the lighting shows not only that cross but shadows of the cross, here and there and all around the room.   The message is clear.

The cross is central to this church, to the church.

The struggle around the cross is illustrated through dance.    Through struggle, through almost violent dance.   Through dance that elegantly portrays the haunting dance between good and evil that happened on that “Good” Friday.

Pastor Joy explains the small piece of paper and pencil we’ve been given when we entered quietly.

“Good Friday is about me.   It’s about you.   It’s not just about Jesus.”

He died for our sins.

We need to confess our sins.   And so we do.   In the darkened room, where no one but me and God can see, we confess our sins.   And write them on the piece of paper.

And then we nail them to the cross.   Actually more than one cross that were scattered around the sanctuary.

Quietness is broken.

Bang, bang, bang go the hammers.   One after another.   A caucaphony of sins being nailed to the cross as we all file forward for our chance to nail OUR sins to the cross.

Standing by each cross is a leader of the church.

Waiting.

And after you nail your sins to the cross, they welcome you.

“The body of Christ that was broken for your sins.”

“The blood of Christ that was shed for your sins.”

We all go back to our hard spots on the floor as we wait for everyone to have their turn.

To nail their sins to the cross.

The music starts playing softly – you can’t hear it at first over the noise of the hammers.

But as the hammers quiet down, the music grows.   I didn’t know the song, but I know the chorus…..

“Amen…..  Amen….”

It grows and the congregation joins in, a united praise to God for what happened on Good Friday.

Pastor Brad then leads us in a communal celebration of the Lord’s Supper.   Because of Him, because of Jesus all is forgiven.

He quotes the song – the one we all know but often don’t think through…..

  1. My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
  2. We all repeat it with him.   The meaning, the relief is felt and heard on every voice.
  3. And we leave, not in quiet to mourn and be sorrowfilled, but with an invitation to come back on Sunday for the celebration and with the urging to talk to at least 6 people outside of your family with this greeting……

“The peace of Christ be with you.”

“And also with you.”

And it was.

And it is.

Amen