4/26/22 Devotional from Ed
April 26, 2022
Author: Ed Black
Text: 1 Peter 1:17-21
17If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. 18You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. 21Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.
Usually during the seventh inning of dinner at my house, Hal or Will (maybe both) will ask, "Am I eating a good dinner?" They know that if they "eat a good dinner," the likelihood of getting some form of a dessert goes up. The question seems to have picked up lately, too, as both are still working through their Easter candy. Like many houses, we're loaded with sugar from the Easter bunny.
Nine days after we celebrated Jesus' resurrection, I ask myself if we've "moved on" from the cross and now simply carry the baskets full of candy and eggs instead of the cross.
I realize this may seem dark, perhaps uncomfortable, but it's imperative that the Church ("church" with a capital "C") continue to remind Christ followers of the blood of Jesus. Our Scripture above reminds us of this, and we're even given extra emphasis when we read, "PRECIOUS blood of Christ." How often do we think of Easter baskets, fun cards, bunnies, as "precious," but what about the sacrifice on the cross?
In a 1999 sermon entitled, "Steering Toward the Pain," Episcopal priest Fleming Rutledge said the following:
"When I recently visited my sister in South Carolina, we attended Sunday services in a prominent African-American Baptist church there. I was struck by the number of references in the songs to the cleansing blood of Jesus, and the unabashed way that the preacher referred to sin. The blood of Christ for our salvation is mentioned more than thirty times in the New Testament.
Are you ready for a change of pace? Some of you probably know the song by Mary Chapin Carpenter called 'Sometimes You're the Windshield, Sometimes You're the Bug.' This puts it all together. Human beings spend our lives fluctuating between being the victim and being the victimizer. The boy who is bullied on the playground (he's the bug) comes home and torments the cat (he becomes the windshield). The woman who was ridiculed and tyrannized as a child by her mother (bug) is malicious and domineering at her club (windshield). The tribe that loses half its members in a massacre is still exacting revenge generations later. Bugs today are windshields tomorrow.
The death of Jesus has always exerted a strong emotional pull on the disenfranchised and oppressed of the earth. What is more challenging and more radical is the fact that Jesus is also paying the price for the sins of the victimizers, and make no mistake, that includes you and me."
May we not lose sight that sight of our responsibility to 'organize a world according to God's heart,' a world that does not lose sight of the blood that has already been poured out. May we all keep taking up the cross.
Prayer: Fill us this day and beyond with your Spirit, Lord. And empower us to also steer toward the pain in order to keep bringing your love into the world. Amen.
Work Cited: Rutledge, Fleming. Help My Unbelief. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 141-146.