The Passion of the Christ

Happy Holy Week!

That almost sounds strange to say, but someone said that to me this morning…so why not?  I know Holy Week is about the last week of Jesus life; about his arrest, trial, beating, crucifixion and death.  But through all of that we get to celebrate his resurrection and the victory Jesus gives us:

Death has been swallowed up in victory!
Where O death is thy victory?
Where O death is thy sting?
The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the Law;
but thanks be to God for giving us the victory,
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(1 Corinthians 15:54-57)

So…Happy Holy Week…

To kick off Holy Week each year, I have been showing the movie, The Passion of the Christ.  Yesterday marks the fourth year in a row we have done this.  Each year we get new people to come and watch; usually only around 8 to 15 people.  Last night we had 9.  This year I sent an email to the churches in town inviting people to come and of the 9 that came last night 5 were from other churches.  One particular couple stands out though.  I can’t remember their names right now, but the wife is legally blind.  I see this woman around town and have talked to her a few times so I think she can still see a little.  But when I walked into the Fellowship Hall last night I was surprised to see her there with her husband.  After the movie got going they realized that there were subtitles and she could not see well enough to read them.  I started feeling bad for her.  Then I heard something that made me smile and gave me goose bumps…her husband started reading the subtitles and read every single line to her throughout the whole 2 hour plus movie.  Every once in a while he had to describe a scene to her and which character was there and/or speaking.  It was a really amazing display of love AND ministry. There are so many things we take for granted.  The reading of the lines was not at all distracting…actually…it added to the movie for me.

After the movie we had a time of discussion and this woman participated.  She enjoyed the movie and thought is was very moving (even though she can’t see as well as you and I).    In addition to watching the events of Jesus life and death unfold, I got to experience the love of a husband telling the Passion Story to his wife.  I will never forget that night because in a way, I got to experience first hand one way the “passion of Jesus” is displayed and showed to people.  It is one thing to say that Jesus loves you and he died for you, but it quite another to display that love in your life.  This husband did that last night (and I am sure every other day in their lives).

I have seen this movie at least a half a dozen times and each time I get something new out of it.  Last night…I experienced something new…and for that I thank God.

I hope and pray you have a blessed Holy Week as we celebrate the victory won for us through Jesus death and resurrection.  God bless!

-edh-

Wisdom

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written:  ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligent I will frustrate.’  Where is the wise man?  Where is the scholar?  Where is the philosopher of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe…For the foolishness of God is wiser that man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-21 & 25)

When we rely on our own knowledge and wisdom we get things wrong:  We think we know how to treat people, but we don’t.  We think we know what is right for the church, but we don’t.  We think we are judging people appropriately, but we aren’t.  When we rely on our knowledge and wisdom we miss the big picture, people get hurt and we don’t see the wisdom of God.

In the grant scheme of things, knowledge is easy to acquire, but true wisdom takes time.  Wisdom takes patience and prayer.   King Solomon did not pretend to know how to rule Israel.  He did not attempt to rule Israel on his own.  Solomon did not attempt to use his own (limited) knowledge and wisdom (see 1 Kings 5) to lead people.  But Solomon, when asked by God for anything, asks for wisdom to lead.  We can learn a lot from Solomon.

We can’t pretend to know how to act in the church without faithfully listening to God.  We can’t pretend to know what is the best way to treat people without faithfully listening to God.  We can’t pretend to be “wise” without asking God for wisdom and then being faithful in listening to God.  True wisdom comes from God.  True wisdom sees people on an equal “playing field”.  True wisdom does not judge certain people better or more worthy than others.  True wisdom is humble and gracious.  True wisdom seeks reconciliation.

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

If we truly want to see and know God, we need to rely on the wisdom that only comes from God.  The foolishness of the cross is salvation…to undeserving people.  And those undeserving people are none other than YOU and ME.  So let’s us give thanks to God for his “foolishness”.  Let us seek God and ask for his wisdom.  Let praise God always and forever.  Amen.

-edh-