As we walk the way of the cross this week towards Good Friday, I have been reminded of a very simple truth.
We remember that Jesus was arrested for a crime he did not commit, questioned by the high priest then shuffled off to the office of the roman governor who would not make any decisions as to Jesus' future but took the coward's way out by letting the crowds decide.
Crucify him, crucify him was their demand and cry.
There's much more to the story, I encourage you to read it in Luke 22-23. But the end of the story, Jesus is crucified, dead , buried and rose again on the third day...that's why we celebrate Easter.
The simple thought I was led to Sunday morning was Luke 23:34
Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
I have been gently reminded I was them.
No, I wasn't standing at the foot of the cross as Jesus was dying,
no I didn't cast lots for the clothes that had been stripped off him
and no, I wasn't there condemning him to death or yelling from the crowd to crucify.
my sin put him on the cross, my rejection of what Jesus Christ came to do; reconcile me back to a loving Heavenly Father; was why he hung on the cross, bore the shame and agony of his Father turning away from him, yes...
I was them.
But it didn't end there for me and it doesn't for anyone who repents of their sin, asking forgiveness of their sin through Jesus Christ, and trusting in him for salvation, of being able to say I am now a friend of God.
It's all right there, read for yourself in Luke 23. And no longer be among them.
I wore jeans to church on Sunday.
Wearing jeans to Church on Sunday morning has never been a practice of mine. Not because I look down on those who do or because wearing 'church clothes' is really what worshipping God is all about. My history explains why jeans on a Sunday morning have been off-limits.
Growing up in middle, rural America my family went to Church. For the most part, my hard-working parents worked six out of seven days, taking a well deserved and needed rest on Sunday. When we were rescued from the domain of darkness (Colossians 1:13) we went to Church most Sunday mornings to worship. I don't remember what I wore, but my Mom taught and modeled for me and my sisters how to dress well. To this day, she loves a new outfit...and so do I! But what we wear when we worship the God of the universe isn't the point, is it?
When I graduated from high school, I was off to Bible college where pastors, missionaries, teachers, and pastor's wives prepared for ministry. It was an ultra conservative school where the young ladies wore skirts and dresses, rounding out our daily attire with pantyhose. The young men wore suit coats and ties. This dress code was everyday to class and to family style dining in the evening. Pants for girls were even off-limits in the library. I'm still not sure of all the reasoning behind this dress code. And even today I can't put into words why is it really so important what we wear? Over the years I know I have put too much thought on a Saturday night into what I'm going to wear on Sunday morning. I should be thinking about what my heart looks like and am I ready for worship. I think of friends ministering in the far reaches of Africa, or the sweltering weather of South Sudan. I'm sure pantyhose and ties are not on the list of things to wear. On the other hand, I don't think it represents our Lord well when what we do wear becomes a distraction to those around us.
Shouldn't THE focus of a Sunday Morning be our Creator God? Shouldn't we be more interested in the condition of our hearts and not if we dress to the nines or wear our favorite jeans?
I guess where all of this is coming from is my recent study I am leading in our women's Sunday School class. We are sitting down with Jesus on the mountainside as he talks to his disciples about following him and true righteousness.(Matthew 5-7) I confess, too many times I look more like the pharisees who were worried about keeping all the commandments and looking good on the outside.(Matthew 6:1) But Jesus wants to get to the heart of the matter. He tells us to clean the inside of the cup, our hearts, not just the outside. Is my heart right with God as I head off to Church or have I spent more time figuring out what to wear? Do I want to look good in the pew or do I want to be right with my Heavenly Father who is waiting to be worshipped and adored for the Great God He is?!!!!
Church clothes...personal preference. I don't think it matters what I'm wearing when it comes to loving God with all my heart, mind and soul and my neighbor as myself. Or as I head off to Sunday Morning to be in awe of God who is good all the time. Honor God in your heart and it will shine in your heart and life.