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Pastor Talbot Davis notices an interesting trend among those who show up these days to worship at the church he pastors, “they are interested in a better life, not necessarily a better church.” Years ago, he says, people tended to “church shop” seeking the church with the best programs, the best music, the best worship, often moving easily from one to another; today they seem to be seeking a church and a faith community where they are known, where they are among those who realize their lives are a mess, in need of the cross, and desire to be part of a community “walking together towards hope and healing.”
My friends, we are broken, sinful, messed up people. No doubt about it. We may not often admit it, we may not look in our mirror and want to see that self, we may too often run from this truth; but we are in need of what God in Christ Jesus offers—salvation, healing, forgiveness, hope.
As we gather in the Sundays of Lent for worship, we begin with words of confession and hear words of forgiveness—and while I speak them, they are God’s words for you, to you, for your salvation. On Maundy Thursday evening we gather for worship and we have an opportunity to receive individual “absolution” (forgiveness) and then to have our hands washed and blessed so we can enter into the Great Three Day Holy Week worship cleansed and made ready to celebrate the joyous empty tomb. But first, the tomb must be filled with the stench of our dear Jesus’ death. Without that stark reminder of sin, death, and the evil one, Easter is not a joyous celebration. Without a grim reminder each week of how very broken we are, the words of grace are meaningless, and we have no need of a Savior.
As we end the season of Lent with our Holy Week services, I pray you will participate, and will know that you are here because God draws you here; you know you are part of a community, and you belong. We are a community of disciples, living in a broken sinful world, in need of God’s own grace, forgiveness, mercy, love. My prayer is that each of us knows our brokenness and God’s forgiveness, knows that God provides a better life, the life of one who is loved, accepted, belongs and is known in the deepest core of their being. There is room here for all, pray that those seeking a better life come and find what they seek.
In Christ’s love,