1 Peter 4:1-8

            Today is Holy Saturday.  As we journey with Jesus, we contemplate his being put to death and lying in the grave.  If there is one thing that I continually emphasize as a pastor is that Christianity is not only a set of beliefs to hold onto, but a powerful way of life to lean into.  The Christian’s life ought to be deeply influenced by the crucifixion of Christ, more than just believing it is an historic event.  The cross means that we now have the ability and responsibility to put to death everything that is counter to God’s will.
            The Apostle Peter made this connection explicit in his epistle to a hurting and suffering church.  “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.”  Peter moved effortlessly from Christ’s cross to our way of life.  And the height of that particular Christian way of living is through love: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
            The season of Lent and Holy Week will have accomplished its intended purpose if it results in the individual sinner putting to death his/her unloving and selfish passions and turning to the cross with its ultimate expression of love and godly commitment. 
            Bypassing the putting to death part of Christianity and anticipating the resurrection of Easter will only short-circuit the spiritual power that is available.  We cannot effectively live into the new life of Easter without first dying to ourselves and tapping into the power of the cross.  So, use this holy time before Sunday identifying the ways that are contrary to the Jesus life, and allow the proper time to lament of it so as to properly lean into the new way of unconditional love.
            Holy God, sometimes I care much more about the things of the flesh and of the world than I do the incredible spiritual realities that exist right in front of my face.  I grieve those things I have done, and the things I have left undone.  Yet, your mercy is eternal.  Allow the cross of Christ to infiltrate my soul so that I am ready to receive the new life of love you desire.  Amen.

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