Check out my blog at https://stevewinsor.blogspot.comIn worship this past Sunday one of you smiled from ear to ear as you received communion. This was no cheesy selfie -grin. Nor was it a I am so happy to see you this morning Pastor Steve grin. The smile conveyed a joyful understanding of the true presence of Jesus Christ being offered in the bread and wine. Your smile said, Jesus has this. Perhaps I get your smile, because you have made me aware of what struggles life is dealing you these days. Your past nags at you, the present challenges you, and a hope - filled future calls to you. All three vie for your attention in naming who you are. Hopefully your faith confidently tells you who you are and to whom you lovingly belong. On Sundays you come to worship to hear the affirmations and sacrifices of God. In worship you encounter the presence of Jesus in the Holy Supper, and your response to that presence could be any one of the following …joy, grief, remorse, and maybe even indifference. It all depends on where you are in life. Any way you look at it, Christ on the cross for our sins is grace, sweet amazing grace. Recently, I caught myself humming Amazing Grace. For as much as this hymn has been, dare I say, overplayed, its words are timeless. As we approach Easter the second verse has stood out to me. The second verse sings, prays and exclaims proudly … Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed! The verse starts with grace. Fear God because you have been grasped by the love of the cross of Christ in such a way that you fear falling out of favor with God, as opposed to being loved and accepted first. Remember, you are loved first. There is no earning, or attempts at trying to regain favor with God, for YOU have been claimed and promised through love not fear. Knowing this, our fears are relieved, and we are freed to live this life in hope and joy as broken beings through a repentant heart born out of grace, not fear! Broken and sinful we still share Christ. Broken and sinful we ask for forgiveness. Broken and sinful, but loved, we see and experience the empty tomb of hope in plain sight of the cross. We, you and I, are called in our baptism to see the Light in the darkness and know, in grace, not fear, that darkness, cannot and will not overcome it. Feel free to smile at the Lord’s table (insert your name).
Your brother in Christ,
Pastor Steve Winsor
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