16 Telford Avenue, West Lawn, PA 19609
firstname.lastname@example.org • Email Advent
Rev. Mark R. Rigg, Pastor
Sunday Worship at 8:15 AM and 10:45 AM • Sunday School 9:30 AM until 10:30 AM
Church Office Hours 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM Monday through Friday
Sisters and brothers,
The dates of Lent and Easter are a bit funny this year.
Ash Wednesday is Valentine's Day, February 14th. Easter is April Fools' Day, April 1. You can already imagine the corny sermon topics, can't you? "Jesus – God's Love Letter to the World." "The Empty Tomb: Jesus Fools Death and the Devil!" My promise to all of you is that, when you come to worship on those days, you will get no bad puns but only the good news!
And yet, and yet...the combination of Valentine's Day and April Fools' Day has stuck in my craw the last few days. I keep thinking about the STRANGE LOVE of God. It is a love more constant than any human love. It is also strange and surprising, showing itself especially in the broken and the poor and those on the edge. It is not a love that finds us lovable but that makes us lovable. It does not praise us for who we are; it makes us into something we never were. A strange love indeed.
Many people struggle to see how Jesus shows us this strange love of God. Some see the loving side, but they believe that Jesus' love must be much like their own. In this way Jesus becomes an idol, a false god who supports our own sense of right and wrong, good and evil. Others see the strangeness of Jesus (his mighty deeds, his prophetic words, his closeness to God), but they cannot see what any of it has to do with love. For these people Jesus remains distant, someone who provokes curiosity, perhaps, but not worship and praise.
Those who go to the cross see Jesus most clearly. In the cross Jesus is revealed. How much he loves us...and what a strange and mysterious way to do it!
Lent gives us the opportunity to journey to the cross together. To gather on Sundays and Wednesdays and hear the promises of Jesus. To read a shared devotional and hear directly from Jesus who he is in our lives. To open our hearts to God and neighbor and to give to the poor.
May Jesus watch over us.
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