Getting the message right (btw, the message is “welcome home”)

Take hold of the life that is truly life!

1 Tim 6:19

Sunday morning Rebekah and I enjoyed one of those deeply meaningful worship experiences that reaffirm everything positive about church and make us so incredibly thankful to be part of the Body of Christ.

– Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church

We needed to arrive early, as Rebekah was scheduled to assist pastor Mac in serving communion, so I had time to walk around outside for a few minutes and enjoy how beautiful the campus is this time of the year.

The church grounds looked wonderful; but worship was more glorious still.

The sanctuary was full with people; a young family presented their four boys for baptism; nine teenagers joined the church through confirmation; and then – after pastor Mac’s excellent message – we celebrated communion.

This is exactly what I was writing about last week (FYI, the tomb is still empty!). The life of Jesus is not a memorial to an event lost to history, it is an active reality that inspires, encourages, motivates, facilitates, and enables us to take hold of what the New Testament describes as, “The life that is truly life!”

There is a tendency in the world at large to equate Christianity with the exact opposite of vibrant life. I am currently reading Philip Yancey’s classic, What’s So Amazing About Grace? and he paints a disturbingly clear picture of the gracelessness of much of religion, the sense of anti-fun and the snuffing out of life that characterizes the presentation of Jesus to those who do not know him.

However, and as I repeatedly shout from the rooftops, Jesus is our clear invitation into the fullness of life. God is all about saying “Come home!”, and our job is simply that of saying “We are so glad you are here!”

We are not supposed to build a fence around the table of communion, but to throw open the doors and say “welcome home.”

– writer Derek Maul

The bread and the wine – I wrote about this yesterday in “Beyond Time and Distance” – call us into relationship not only with God but with one another. Baptism – see “I already know I’m a child of God so why do you have to make my head all wet” – tells the story of our belonging. To have both in the same worship service is always something extra special.

Enjoy these photos from Sunday morning.

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go into the house of the Lord.”
Our feet have been standing
Within your gates, O Jerusalem!

Psalm 122

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