Sunday, April 4, 2010

Romans 3: 19-24

It is Easter Day, the day when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ, and the promise of eternal life that brings for his followers.

The passage I have chosen for us to read, though, is not about Easter Day - if it relates at all to this time of year, then perhaps it speaks to us of the promise of the cross.

Imagine, if you will, being hooked up to a lie detector, and asked if you had kept every detail of every law.

I wonder how many of us could say ‘yes’?

Even, I, for instance, may have inadvertently allowed my car to stray slightly above the speed limit on a couple of occasions.

The thought that God knows all about our failures terrifies some people. If I were to die now, they think, and had to answer for how I have lived, I would be found guilty on so many counts. How could I hope to be acquitted by God?

Religion seems to say we must keep God’s law in order to stay on the right side of him, but we are constantly breaking the law, so we have no chance of being at peace with him, or being acceptable to him.

But that’s not what Christianity says. The good news of Easter is that God isn’t like that at all. He is not the God of law, but the God of grace.

His way is not about what we do, but about what we believe. God is not waiting to trip us and judge us, but to forgive us and accept us. And, as Paul explains, it took Jesus to make this clear.

So we can start this Easter Day, as we can start every day, with a clean sheet when we turn to the God who waits to forgive and accept us.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

John 13: 3-11

It's Maundy Thursday today, which is when that passage from John's Gospel is set.

I used to play cricket. The scene in our changing rooms after a cricket match wasn’t something for delicate eyes. Eleven sweaty blokes aren’t exactly a fragrant sight. But I expect this is the sort of thing that God sees regularly. He must look on humanity sometimes and wonder what on earth his children are like.

Judas was included in the foot washing, and Jesus made reference to him, because he already knew it was this particular man who would betray him. He explained to the disciples that even if they'd had a bath and were clean from head to toe, what he was really concerned about was inner holiness.

Someone once said that receiving blessings and love from on high, is like being in a shower and being completely saturated by the Holy Spirit of God; turning your face towards heaven and soaking up the living waters; being drenched in love and forgiveness; being inundated with thoughts of praise and worship.

But for many people this never happens, because they get into the shower with an umbrella which they firmly put up! All the out-pouring, overflowing love of God bounces off the umbrella and washes away down the drain. What a waste!

God doesn’t just call us to get our feet wet. He wants us to let down our barriers and receive all his blessings.