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“Father, Forgive”


As you prepare your hearts and minds for our Thanksgiving worship this coming Sunday, November 24th, please read and reflect upon Luke 23:33-43.

It may seem a bit odd to preach on the meaning and the power of Jesus’ crucifixion the Sunday before all of the Thanksgiving festivities. Upon further reflection, though, what could we be more thankful for than God’s gracious act of self-giving love in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

I’ve been hearing the term “crisis” with greater frequency these days.

–Our world is in crisis.

–Nations are in crisis.

–Churches and schools are in crisis,

–Individuals, marriages, and families are in crisis.

How is a crisis defined? What constitutes a crisis?

Consider this definition:

The noun crisis comes from the Latinized form of the Greek word krisis, meaning “turning point in a disease.” At such a moment, the person with the disease could get better or worse: it’s a critical moment. The etymology of the term “crisis” shares a relationship with the term “Christ.”

Life is about choices. If we find ourselves in a crisis, we can choose to embrace the power of the crisis or the power of Christ. I choose to embrace Christ and hold on to his everlasting promises.

The only crisis which has ever existed is the corruption of the human heart. On the cross, Jesus took our disease of sin upon himself, thus offering us the opportunity to be forgiven, loved, and free.

If you ever visit England, be sure to spend time in the city of Coventry, northwest of London.

During WWII, The Coventry Blitz (blitz: from the German word Blitzkrieg meaning “lightning war” struck the beautiful city with relentless force. The city was bombed many times by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe). The most devastating of these attacks occurred on the evening of 14 November 1940 and continued into the morning of 15 November.

Christians of Coventry took two  charred embers and made the form of a cross with the inscription “Father Forgive.”

While serving a previous church, I would join in a duet with one of our choristers who has a lovely soprano voice. We sang “Give Thanks” every Thanksgiving Sunday. The hymn, written by Henry Smith in 1978 is based on Luke 1:49–53.

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”
Give thanks
We give thanks to You

This Thanksgiving as you feast with family and friends at your table, give thanks to the Holy One for giving us Jesus Christ.

Rev. Jim

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