It's Maundy Thursday, and we're preparing to sit in the Upper Room and ponder the meaning of the Bread and Cup. Tomorrow we'll be walking the path of the cross at Breakheart Reservation, and on early Eastern morn is the Sunrise Service. In amid the activity we find ourselves thinking (I hope) of why Jesus came to die. I used to view Jesus as a martyr, hated for his teachings. I then came to understand the cross in terms of sacrifice...for sin...for me. The just (Jesus) for the unjust (me again). And this changed my life. Theologians call this the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. In simple terms, Jesus died in our behalf, taking our place, taking the punishment we deserved. God is just and does not overlook sin. It must be punished--and was--upon the cross. And the resurrection seals our salvation. The Father is merciful because the Son died for us...and that makes life worth living and death nothing to dread.
Romans 6:18 says, "Having been freed from sin, we have become slaves of righteousness." This brings to mind a reflection by Thomas Merton..."The mind is the prisoner of conventional ideas, and the will that is the captive of its own desire cannot accept the seeds of an unfamiliar truth and a supernatural desire. For how can I receive the seeds of freedom if I am in love with slavery, and how can I cherish the desire of God if I am filled with another and an opposite desire? God cannot plant His liberty in me because I am a prisoner and I do not even desire to be free. I love my captivity and I imprison myself in the desire for the things that I hate, and I have hardened my heart against true love. I must learn therefore to let go of the familiar and the usual and consent to what is new and unknown to me. I must learn to 'leave myself' in order to find myself by yielding to the love of God. If I were looking for God, every event and every moment would sow, in my will, grains of His life that would spring up one day in a tremendous harvest."
> Follow the Bible, using it as our only source of God’s truth, and our final authority. > Be practical and relevant to what’s happening in today’s world. > Use normal, everyday language. > Provide good, inspirational music. > Let visitors know they’re under no pressure to give money. > Be friendly, always.
50 Essex St, Saugus MA 01906 ph 781-233-2663 Sunday School 9:30 am; Worship 10:45 (Summer 10 am)