Saturday, March 15, 2008

Stop and Listen to the Story: Passion Sunday

Today is unlike most days. Today, we stop. Today, we listen to one of the most pivotal moments in creation’s history --the murder of Jesus Christ. Most other events are fleeting compared to the ones honored today, recognized as Passion Sunday, because the execution of Jesus set into motion the transformation of the world.

Last week, I preached a sermon titled, “Today Can Transform Tomorrow.” In it, I said that the past created this moment. Who you are, right now, right here is a culmination of all your yesterdays. What’s glorious about this basic truth is that it means that what happens today affects what tomorrow will be. For just as the past created the present moment, so also does the present moment create a new future.

And so, the present moment is sacred. Each moment deserves great care as we make decisions, as we think, speak and act in ways that will affect our lives and the lives of those around us.

Today, you could make amends for the mistakes of yesterday, and that will change your life. Today, you could change your evil ways, break a bad habit, or give up life-taking attitudes and behaviors, and that will change your life. Today, you could begin to act only in the spirit of love, and that will change your life. And not just yours, but all of those people whom you come in contact with, and maybe even, all those people whom they come in contact with. Because, you see, our thoughts, speech and actions have a ripple affect. They affect not only us. We cannot even fully know how far our choices reach.

I consider this a great responsibility: to remain present, and to make wise, thoughtful and generous choices in each moment; this is each of our responsibilities.

And we are lucky, we are blessed for that. We are blessed because every day is a new day. Each morning we wake up fresh, with another chance. Here, I am reminded of the old hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Because “Morning by morning, new mercies I see.”

There are very few, if any, dead end roads in life. Even if we make the worst decisions possible, there is always an out; there is always another path that connects the destructive one we are on to a new path that lead us in the right direction. Even if we make mistakes, even if we sin, even if we side with evil, we can repent. We can receive forgiveness. We can change. And we can receive new life! That is a gift that is given to us from God.

Even if our yesterday leads to death today, (I can’t think of anything worse than that, can you? Death. Today.), we still have not reached the end of our rope, or the end of our hope, because with God there are always options; there is always the promise of a greater reality, a greater existence, even if words and ideas fail to explain.

How did we get to be so lucky? How did we get to be so blessed? How is it that every day is a new day? And that life keeps coming at us, even as we bat it into the garbage?

So this morning, we will stop. This morning, we will listen to a story. No, to the story For on this day, Passion Sunday, we honor the day many years ago when the world as we know it came to an end. This is the day that God stopped history. The day before all things are created new. The day Jesus died.

Read John 18:1-19: 42

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