Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Week

This is a very special week in which we celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ our Savior.  Good Friday was a sober time to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice that God made for us on the cross.  It is easy to overlook how serious this event is because all too often we forget that the characters of the bible were real live people.  It is a NON-fiction book, not full of fictional tales, but real life people and their stories.  When we recognize that Jesus was fully man, and try to empathize with his journey we can see far better what a BIG DEAL this is.  He was betrayed by his friends.  He was brutally beaten.  Shamed.  Flogged.  And killed in a horrific and terrible way.  It is hard to conceptualize this type of torture.  But even if we can wrap our minds around these circumstances, we can't understand what it must have felt like as he died on the cross to feel the weight of the sin of the world.  Your sin, my sin.  It crushed him. 

"Father, why have you forsaken me?" 

It's because of our sin.  You know, when I tell a lie, or cheat, or steal.  When I talk bad about others.  When I don't honor my father and mother.  When I covet the nicer things that others have.  Those little sins.  They killed Jesus.  Is that too harsh?  Wasn't his punishment for my sins too harsh? 

There is a new little sin that has been plaguing me this week.  Help me out here...Is it a sin when we know something is wrong but do nothing about it at all? 

In our lesson on State and Government this week in the Truth Project we were challenged with this notion: as members of a democratic nation we are "partners" in our government.  To take it to a deeper level, when the government sins we are a part of that.  Their sins are our sins.  We have the opportunity to vote and help them to make the right decisions in that very democratic way, but we also have the opportunity in our country to stand up for what we believe.  To be vocal and not just write a check mark on a ballet. 

I shy away from political discussions.  Especially political viewpoints on Facebook.  (You may see where I'm going with this.)  This may be my one-sided view, but the way I see it-- on the other end of the spectrum there is little restraint for sending out political messages.  Those who oppose Christian views in politics tend to be bold and get heard on social media outlets.  While many like me say nothing at all.  But if we say nothing, is it the same as supporting what we don't believe?  If we are not part of the solution, does that make us part of the problem?  Does keeping silent translate into denying Jesus?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:33 "But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."

A very strong point the Truth Project makes is that God's design for the social structures of our world were made according to his nature.  And each social structure was purposed to stand separate and sovereign.  When the lines of these social structures begin to fade, blur and merge together we fall into a structure that is not according to the Nature of God.  These social spheres include Church, State and Family to name a few.  In our society the State has blurred the lines of Church and Family and has decided to help define what these two mean, apart from the bible.  As Christians is it OK to watch this happen and claim that there is nothing we can do and forfeit participation in the government?  Many times this is my approach.  To just stand separate and say, well I know what I believe and it doesn't really matter what the government does either way.

I feel like I am beating around the bush to keep from actually having to state what I believe.  (Continuing to sin by saying nothing at all) So here is my overall take on the issue at hand: Same Sex Marriage.  I believe fully in what the Bible says.  I do not pass judgment on the lifestyle choices of others.  But I do not believe that the government has the right to define what marriage is.  Marriage was created by God and defined clearly in the bible.  What is happening in our government right now is an example of blurred lines between social spheres.  The State is trying to define something that is not in their God-given power to define.  There is no basis for their definition other than the opinions of others.  I prefer my definitions to be raised from truth and a clear written code for how to live.  I don't always live according to the ways God has set forth so I do not expect others to live lives free of sin.  But I believe simply that we cannot redefine something like the infinite nature of God. 

I'm scared.  I'm frightened to state these beliefs.  I know and love many people that are fighting for same sex marriage to be legal, for equal rights for all.  I do not wish them to be unhappy, but as a follower of Christ my belief is that true joy lies in wait when you fully rely on God not the government.  I wish I were more eloquent in speech and written words that I could make my point in a way that would never hurt anyone, but I'm afraid today that might not be the case.  I feel convicted, nonetheless, to say what I believe.  Not just by changing my Facebook profile picture, but by explaining where the truth comes from.

And even as I write this sentiment, it seems that there is a bigger problem at stake than the current political structure of our time.  It is that in the midst of this very special week we are distracted by an issue that is apart from Christ's ultimate gift and sacrifice.  That instead of recognizing Ash Wednesday we were all too busy checking Facebook to see what side of the equation everyone stood.  And on Good Friday, instead of reflecting on Christ on the Cross I was busy chatting with my friends about this very issue and gleaning wisdom about what I should do.  Should I share my thoughts or not?

But today on this Saturday, the day before our King will rise, I am done worrying about politics and I will sit in anticipation of the coming Christ.  For He Is Risen.  He Is Risen Indeed.  And we know that he will come again and these matters of our world will be no more.  He loves us enough to promise eternal life with him in heaven.  No matter what side of the equation we stand, we can be sure that he died for us and if you believe in him and repent of your sins, you too will be saved. 

God calls us to love one another, because he first loved us.  And I hope you each know how much I do love you.  I don't mean this post to be negative or controversial.  On the contrary, I just mean to share God's love with all of you.

1 Corinthians 13:13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

Happy Easter!

John 9:35-41 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and went and found him. He asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  

The man said, “Point him out to me, sir, so that I can believe in him.”  

Jesus said, “You’re looking right at him. Don’t you recognize my voice?”  

“Master, I believe,” the man said, and worshiped him.

Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.”

Some Pharisees overheard him and said, “Does that mean you’re calling us blind?”

Jesus said, “If you were really blind, you would be blameless, but since you claim to see everything so well, you’re accountable for every fault and failure.”

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