44 Then he (Jesus) said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. 47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ 48 You are witnesses of all these things.
49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”
Luke 25:44-49 (NLT)
Good morning my friends!
It was yesterday morning when I had a simple thought in my mind; “what topic would I like to share with my sisters and brothers in Christ in my “Just for You!” offering this week. The answer as you might imagine came quickly in witnessing in real time the events that occurred in our nation’s capital yesterday afternoon.
We, the people of this broken and fallen world, have truly been through the “wringer” over the course of this past year. With our own eyes we have witnessed how a microscopic organism could nearly cripple the way humans interact and conduct daily life. With our own eyes we have seen people dying without the ability to have friends and family by their side and families and friends trying to grieve and mourn death in ways that are foreign and alien. With our own eyes we have witnessed the prejudices and injustices that continue to plague humanity. With our own eyes we have witnessed how easily people can move from being “impassioned”, “enraged”, “frustrated”, and “angry” to becoming violent and out of control. With our own eyes we have borne witness to how the media and news outlets can truly “color” truths and validate inappropriate actions. With our own eyes we have witnessed how influential leaders can incite people to say and do things that stand opposed to the well being of our larger culture.
Make no mistake about this. These are not issues that simply occur within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the United States of America, these issues are prevalent through the entire developed world.
Make no mistake about this; while the pace and frequency of these issues are at a fevered pitch in this world of immediate gratification and information, events like these have occurred throughout the history of this broken and fallen world.
Yes, this year has once again demonstrated to all the people of this world that we truly live in a broken and fallen world.
My hope and prayer would be that we once again hear the words of our Lord and Savior as annotated in the gospel of Luke; “then he opened their minds to understand Scripture.”
Scripture shares with us stories about God’s desire for the world and human brokenness which inhibits God’s desire to be fulfilled. Time and time again, humans fail to live in accordance with God’s Will. Time and time again, humanity lusts for power, wealth, prestige, and honor over and above the welfare of one another. Time and time again humanity turns their collective “backs” to God and walks down the wrong road.
The Good News is that in every instance of these actions occurring, from the very onset of creation, God has walked with God’s people and has never abandoned humanity. As one of my professors used to say, “there is no sin that exists that is larger than God’s ability to forgive.”
Jesus speaks to the disciples after His three days in the tomb and among the first words recorded are “there is forgiveness of sins for all who repent (turn back to God).”
Now is the appropriate time for us to humbly come before God and ask for forgiveness of our sin. My guess is that none of you who are reading this reflection took part in the violent and deadly looting that occurred in the summer months of this year. My guess is that none of you who are reading this reflection took part in storming the capitol of the United States and caused the death of people yesterday. Yet, we all have much to ask God for forgiveness.
Our hearts are often hardened to truly respect and hear those whose opinions and thoughts are different than our own. Our own prejudices impact the way we view “the other” and sometimes lead us to make inappropriate statements and carry inappropriate thoughts. Our voices have been silent when we see injustices in the world around us. In other words, we simply have failed to live out the commandments of our Lord and Savior, Love God and love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Now, if you have read this reflection to this point, we are reminded of Christ’s command to proclaim to ourselves, to one another, and to the whole world that “there is forgiveness of sin for all who repent.”
We are witnesses to this eternal truth also.
So, what will you do?
Until next time,
Keep trusting God, keep washing those hands, and ask for and proclaim forgiveness.