Finished

Frid-4-10

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John‬ ‭19‬:‭30‬ NIV

After the unfair trial.

After the man’s judgment.

After the sentence to death.

After the unbelievable physical pain.

After the unbearable separation from the Father.

After receiving horrific judgment and sin of the world upon Himself.

Before His final breath.

“It is finished.”

My sin paid for.

My debt paid.

My forgiveness, offered.

My redemption, complete.

My relationship with God, possible.

Before you ever began, He finished it.

The Last Supper

Tues 4-7

And he took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after supper, he took the cup saying, “This cup is the new covenant in the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Luke 22:19-20 NIV

A symbolic dinner to tell the ancient story of freedom from slavery and redemption from death itself.

A lamb for each family that crowded the streets of Jerusalem that week.  A lamb sacrificed by a Temple priest.  A lamb that was consumed later as they moved through each symbolic element: the meat, the unleavened bread, the bitter herbs, the egg, the cups of wine, the applesauce.

The disciples were celebrating a holiday, Jesus was fulfilling prophecy.

Then Jesus put himself on the plate, put Himself in the story. He picked up the bread and broke it and said, “This is my body given for you”. He took the cup and said, “This is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you.” Only God can make a new covenant. And He did.

It was their last supper together.

After they celebrated the angel of death passing over those whose homes were marked with the blood of the lamb, they saw the blood of the Chosen One spilled under the lash of the whip and poured out on the wood of a Roman cross as He died before their eyes.

It was the last Passover Jesus had with His disciples before Jesus became the Passover Lamb for His disciples and the world.

For you.

For me.

Forever.

And a new way to remember it, we call it communion.

 

I’ve Got Nothing

serving-hands

The wind was howling when the alarm went off yesterday morning. It wasn’t my alarm, it was Bobby’s – he leaves for the church by 7am every Sunday. The rain beat against the window and trees shook. We came home from a mostly sunny vacation in So. Cal. to cloud covered Nor. Cal. storm. I rolled over when he turned on the bathroom light and the next time I opened my eyes, he was kissing me goodbye. I mumbled “drive safe, it sounds crazy out there” or something like that.

My own alarm went off the second Bobby stepped out the door. That would be my cocker spaniel, Toby. The second Bobby leaves, Toby begins to howl. Annoying as it is, it gets me up. The wind was giving the dog a run for his money as it whipped around the house.

When I got the boys up, Kyle said, “Look mom, the bedroom window looks like we are in a car wash “, as water was just pouring down it.

Justin didn’t say anything, he just groaned and rolled over. It took forever to get that boy up, in the shower and dressed. Kyle was up and ready in about 10 minutes (donuts are a top motivator). I thought I was going to lose my mind trying to get Justing going. I was scheduled to do prayer and communion in the first service and I really didn’t want to be late for it. I used up all my patience as the minutes ticked by. I finally got the boys bundled warmly into the car only to be faced with slow traffic and flooded streets.

By the time I pulled into the church parking lot, I was frustrated, tired and cutting it close. I knew that in a few minutes I would get up in front of the congregation to pray and then present a few words to prepare the them to receive Communion. As I sloshed through the mini rivers in the parking lot, I whispered a prayer:

“I’ve got nothing, Lord”

Then the verse I’ve been stewing over since last week returned to me with a sweet assuring sense of peace attached:”Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3 NIV)

I’ve got nothing– so I’m totally open to God’s everything.
Oh, yes.

I felt the frustration wash away and the worry lines in my forehead soften. I’ve got nothing but because of the Cross, I have access to everything. I am covered by grace. I am blessed. It isn’t about how much I have or how much I can do. Ministry life is about being honest with what I have (nothing) and be an open vessel to allow God to pour in all He is in.

I am so glad I don’t have to pretend to perfect. I would fail miserably, daily. I am also glad that the more I embrace my own weakness, I am given the key to walk confidently in God’s strength, power, and peace. Not by willing myself to be strong but by laying down the illusion I have strength. Not by working for God’s approval but by resting in His love. Not by memorizing words but by allowing the grace of God to permeate every fiber of my soul.

And by walking in the light of the forgiveness bought for me by Christ’s shed blood, I can find my son after I am done with Communion and ask him for forgiveness. Ask him to forgive me for getting frustrated and saying things I regret. When he gave me a hug, I was so thankful for the realization that “I’ve got nothing” because it lead me to the truth that in Christ I truly have everything.

My prayer for you, dear friend, is that you let go of trying to be strong enough and embrace the grace available to those who know they have nothing.