Friday, August 17, 2012

It Is Finished...

Today's Life Journal readings are from Jeremiah 23, Jeremiah 24, Jeremiah 25, and John 19.

Scripture: John 19:30 (NIV)
"When he had received the drink, Jesus said, 'It is finished.'  With that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."

Christ's mission on earth is now complete.  His earthly life had been leading up to this one moment, when he would offer himself as a sacrifice for all.  On the surface, he was killed as an enemy of the state.  His death, for us, has much greater significance.

"Holy are you, and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ.  Your Spirit anointed him to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed and to announce that the time had come when you would save your people.  He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and ate with sinners.   By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection, you gave birth to your Church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death, and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit."
     (Word and Table I, The Book of Worship of the United Methodist Church)

That was what was finished that morning.  Pilate thought he had killed the One who was causing such an uprising in his little town.  Instead, because of that morning and the events of the third morning, good news would be preached to more who were poor, release would be proclaimed to even more captives, more blind eyes would be opened, more sick healed, more hungry fed, and more sinners dined with.  Thanks be to God. 

Each time I proclaim those words, with arms extended over the elements, I get chills.  It is an awesome task to stand as a representative of Christ in this world, and as his ambassabor to the poor, the captive, the blind, the sick, the hungry, and (thank God) even the sinners.  Each time we come to the table we get to be part of a movement that Pilate and those in power could not destroy.

I give God thanks that I am part of a tradition where healing and grace through the body and blood are available to all who would come. 

God of all those who hunger or thirst, open our eyes to the needs of those around us.  Allow us to stand in your presence as a reminder that even though his earthly role was finished, the work Christ began continues through us, the Church.  May we ever be accused of welcoming and never accused of turning away those who come seeking your grace.  Amen. 

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