March 2013

Dear Friends in Christ,

       By earthly standards, our Lord Jesus Christ was not a particularly “successful” fellow.  He grew up in a working class family of limited means.  His parents and siblings didn’t really understand him and occasionally thought he had lost his mind.  Beyond the early years in the carpenter’s shop, he never seemed to have a paying job.  He never accumulated wealth or ascended to a position of worldly power.  He never married or raised children to carry on his family heritage.  He lived a nomadic life for several years, always on the road, often depending on the generosity of others for his material welfare.  He was actively opposed by the religious and political authorities of his day.  In his hour of trial he was abandoned by his closest friends.  In the end, he was arrested, tried, convicted, beaten, mocked, condemned to death, and crucified on a criminal’s cross.  Not much of a track record!  In so many ways, Jesus looks like a failure.  According to the world’s standards, his rejection seems reasonable.

       God’s ways, however, are not our ways.  God does not see as we see.  “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”  This Jesus who looks like a failure is in fact the Christ, God’s anointed one, the only Beloved Son of God.  This Jesus who does not embrace worldly success is the one who restores the divine image in human form and by his example of righteous, obedient living teaches us how to live.  This Jesus who is humiliated and mistreated by earthly authorities reveals to us what it means to trust God the Father in all things and yield in submission to His holy will.  This Jesus who is crucified on a cross, experiencing a painful and degrading criminal’s death, is the one who sacrifices his life so that all of humankind can know God’s forgiveness and find peace with the Lord. 

       We live in a world in which we are bombarded daily with images of earthly wealth and success.  We live in a time when our culture encourages us to downplay and even distort our faith.  We are tempted to seek acceptance from others at any cost, to accommodate eternal truths to a changing world of relativity.

       Jesus was not a man who sought worldly rewards.  Jesus did not yield to temptation in the time of trial.  He was firm about the truths of God and committed to a life of sacrificial obedience, no matter what.  Jesus is the cornerstone on which we are meant to build our faith.  He is the rock on which we’re called to stand.

       In this Lenten season, may God give us the wisdom, faith and strength to see with God’s eyes and seek only God’s will.  As brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, may we live to glorify God and praise his blessed Son, not choosing worldly ways, but being true to the perfect and often unexpected plans of God.

 

                                                                          Peace in Christ

                                                                          Rev. Peggy Ann Sauerhoff