NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR MAY 4, 2014
On last Sunday, I preached that “Revived to A Living Hope” really does mean “once saved, always saved.” This week’s Epistle text is once again from I Peter Chapter 1 and it takes us beyond that good news. It proclaims to us a faith, a hope and a freedom in Christ to live fully the rest of our lives. The reality is that by the Third Sunday of Easter, the Resurrection of Christ is a distant memory event for most of us. We’ve moved on to other things and just trying to make it past Friday. We forget that the Risen Christ is a living Lord and wants to be an ever present source of faith, hope and freedom to help us in “Making it Past Friday!”
Listen to some of the words of the text for this coming Sunday: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. (I Peter 1:18-21, NIV)
Our hope IS in God, and in such hope is freedom beyond measure. That gives us what we need in “Making it Past Friday!”
Ellsworth Kalas, in his book, The Ten Commandments From the Back Side, tells about Tauler of Strasbourg, a 14th century saint and mystic. One day Tauler learned a lesson from an anonymous beggar. “God give you a good day, my friend,” Tauler said as he met the beggar. “I thank God I never had a bad day,” the beggar quickly answered. Tauler was silent for a moment, then said, “God give you a happy life, my friend.” And the beggar answered, “I thank God I am never unhappy.” Now Tauler was nonplused. “Never unhappy,” he said. “What do you mean?” “Well,” the beggar replied, “when it is fine, I thank God; when it rains, I thank God; when I have plenty, I thank God; when I am hungry, I thank God; and since God’s will is my will, and whatever pleases him pleases me, why should I say that I am unhappy when I am not?”
Tauler was now in awe of his new friend. “Who are you?” he asked.”I am a king,” said the beggar. “A king!” said Tauler, half ready to believe it. “Where is your kingdom?” The man in rags spoke calmly, strongly, “In my heart,” he whispered. “In my heart.”
That beggar knew a freedom that some of us Christians today still have a hard time coming to know and many may never know. It is the kingdom of the heart. As Christians God wants us to be so at peace with God that we will know a freedom that the world cannot know and cannot take away. Jesus could be at peace on the cross and Paul at peace in prison because they knew who held the keys to unlock any prison in life or in death. Their hope was in God, and thus they were free. They knew what it took in “Making it Past Friday.”
Join us in worship this Sunday at Covenant and discover what the Apostle Peter says about what it takes in making it past this Friday, next Friday and all the other Fridays of our lives. My sermon title is “Making It Past Friday” based on I Peter 1:17-23 and Luke 24:28-35.