Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Feast of Forgiveness

Every week we celebrate this meal as a ministry of forgiveness. Specifically, Jesus gave this cup to his disciples and told them that is was for the remission of sins. I just want to take this meditation to emphasize this point. Consider this an extended, underlined absolution and assurance of pardon. When you take this bread into your mouth and taste this wine, the word you need to hear and believe is ‘forgiven.’ Guilt is a tyrant. Guilt is a pharaoh that exacts quotas of good deeds and moralistic hypocrisy. Forgiven is a word that gives life and health and blessing. Forgiveness is water that flows down like a summer storm and the thirsty fields drink their full. Guilt just shoots up weeds trying to blend in with grass. Forgiveness is something that God loves to do. Jesus went to the cross so that God’s mercy might flood this world. His blood was shed for short tempers, his blood was shed for porn problems, his blood was shed for liars, his blood was shed for parents who fail their children, his blood was shed for children who have rebelled against their parents, his blood was shed for hard, bitter hearts, his blood was shed for addicts and abusers and cowards. His blood was shed for women who have had abortions. His blood was shed for husbands and fathers and boyfriends who encouraged and facilitated abortions. No one comes to this table apart from grace. No one comes to this table who is not first covered in blood. But make sure that it is Christ’s blood covering you; guilt cries out for blood and people exact the price from themselves or others close to them. But there is no freedom in the Egypt of Guilt. There is only freedom in Christ, there is only forgiveness in the blood of Jesus. And it’s free. I know we don’t usually give altar calls; and I’m not going to start now. But if you are struggling with guilt, and you hear me talking about forgiveness and you’re not sure if you have that, please talk to me. Talk to one of the elders or deacons. Talk to your parents. But the short answer is right here: Jesus knows your sins and He says, come lay them down and eat with Me. This bread and wine is for you; it’s my body and blood for you. Come eat, drink, and rejoice.

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