There are times when I am very aware of what I lack in faith, faithfulness, and devotion. There are times when I struggle to imagine that’s God’s grace is big enough to make up for all that I lack. In those times, I find my peace in those three final words from the cross, “It is finished.”
I wanted to do a lot more with this sermon and address some specific issues. In reality, I probably had a hobby horse or two I wanted to ride.
It Is Finished . . . or Unfinished?
A few months ago, I was listening to a radio program where a woman was explaining the doctrine of Purgatory. She explained that while Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin, sin had left something like a “ring around the collar” on our souls. Therefore, Purgatory is necessary to remove the final stain of sin.
I was angry. I really was.
These things tend to get me worked up.
I was screaming at the radio, “IT.IS.FINISHED!!!”
Either Jesus died for all our sins, or he died for NONE of it!
In the end, though, I realized I wasn’t addressing a crowd of people who had concerns about Purgatory. Not many of them, at least.
Addressing the Easter Crowd
I also realized I wasn’t addressing my usual crowd. Our attending was the typical Easter crowd; family, friends, and a few extras who show up to do the Easter thing. I also realized many there weren’t accustomed to my usual delivery. So I changed things up a bit and created a much more story-driven sermon than my usual message. In my average sermon, I’m lucky if I have one illustration. This one built on two major stories, one personal and one from Jon Acuff.
All-in-all, we had a great Easter service and a very nice build-up to Easter with this series. I had hoped that this series (a retread of an earlier series) would provide me with some much-needed time to prepare for the next few months. Unfortunately, that didn’t really happen. It’s been a busy and stressful season, and there’s been no time for planning ahead.
Thankfully I have wonderful and caring leaders who insisted I take some time out of the pulpit after Easter. So, I’m spending two weeks plotting out the next six months. I’m really looking forward to where we’re going next!