We are Christians! And, we won’t be stopped!!
A familiar view of church parking lots on Sunday mornings.
(This photo is of our country church parking lot on Easter morning. It was good to see our friends again, even if from the front seat of our car. If we can’t worship from our pews, we can still worship together!!!)
Because of today’s social distancing mandates, many church pastors are utilizing social media to reach their flock … recording their messages on Facebook or their own church website, sending printed messages via the mail, or utilizing television or radio programming … whatever it takes to broadcast God’s word.
Last week, the following messages about Holy Week were sent to me and I found them so wonderfully penned, I wanted to share them. The first message was written by Rev. Robert Rahn, founder of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation in Macomb, MI. He wrote: “As we enter this Holy Week, we do so in uncertain times. We, however, have the sure promises of God as they are fulfilled during this week by His suffering, death and His ultimate victory for us all.”
The second message was written by Rev. Rahn’s fellow staff member, Rev. Larry Rockemann.
Rev. Robert Rahn’s message
Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter you will find a colt tied on which no one has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, Why are you untying it? You shall say, THE LORD HATH NEED OF IT.
And that’s what they did. It marked the beginning of Holy Week and is the emphasis for this article even though the bigger event were the words of angels: “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? HE IS NOT HERE, BUT HE HAS RISEN.” Luke 24:6
It’s not the donkey that’s needed today. It’s not the donkey that Jesus requests. What is it that He asks of us? Every day He comes to us and says “I have need of it!” He has need of our time, talents and treasures. They belong to Him.
So, what’s the problem, why are we so reluctant to give Him what He asks for? Do we even hear His request? We are so busy with our own agendas, whose got time for His? And that’s why we need constant reminders- “THE LORD HATH NEED OF IT.”
When parents die, children are left to sort out all the items in their HATH NEED OF IT treasure chest. If your basement is like ours, it’s full of those HATH NEED OF IT items. It becomes a big stockpile that someone is left to dispose of. By nature, we are hoarders, collectors. I often visited a friend in Iowa where I had to pull out a folding chair from between the refrigerator and wall in order to sit and visit. There was a small open space in the kitchen and in one bedroom. The rest of the space was newspapers and magazines piled from the floor almost to the ceiling. He felt HE HATH NEED OF IT.
WHAT HATH THE LORD NEED OF? According to this Holy Week event, HE HATH NEED OF
- Humble service (not just the big things that bring fame and recognition, little things)
- Honor of His Word (hear it, act on it)
- Recognition of purpose (who am I, what am I here for?)
- Focus on the mission (where are we headed, what’s our mission)
- End result-the cross (what do we hope the end result will be?)
- Sing His song (it’s not “glorify me, my needs, but glorify Him)
- Placing things in the road (not to hinder, but to honor the King)
What can you add to your personal list of items THE LORD HATH NEED OF?
Let me remind you that in all of this our focus is on the King, triumphant in meeting our needs, our greatest need- the forgiveness of sins by His shed blood of Calvary. He knew we HATH NEED OF THAT. Hosanna in the highest!
Rev. Larry Rockemann’s message
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
We’ve gone from the urging of being close to the plea of maintaining a “safe distance.” What’s that? How far is safe? The health authorities are telling us that at least six feet needs to be kept. Best if we could keep it at ten feet, though.
The question of what is a safe distance is an intriguing one, to say the very least. I suppose it depends upon the object from which you’re trying to stay.
So, think with me for a bit here. What’s a safe distance to stay from a black bear in the Great Smoky Mountains? How about the safe distance from an erupting volcano, or a stingray, or an alligator?
What about Satan—what’s a safe distance to remain from him? Or online porn…or your favorite sweet treats…or the temptation to have more and want more? Safe distance?
And what’s a safe distance to maintain when it comes to God? Well, for that one, you only need ask Adam and Eve. They found the spot in the cool of the Garden day. Of course, this was all spoiled royally by God. He apparently didn’t get the memo on social distancing, and He obviously didn’t keep it at six or more feet away from them.
Thankfully, there’s no “safe distance” for the Lord. He comes up close. Real close. Too close. “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…” How close is too close? How’s “bone-of-my-bone, flesh-of-my-flesh,” made “like us in all things except sinning.” Immanuel – “God with us.” That close.
Womb and manger close. Cross and grave close. Jesus gets close. “I forgive you all your sins,” He says into our ears, His Spirit winging those words right to the heart of the matter. Jesus gets close: “My Body given for you…My Blood shed for you.”
He gets up close and personal – oh, so very personal! – as we get too close to things we ought well to run from. He gets up close to us as we try running the other way – away. Away from God. Away from our neighbor. Away from our marriage, away from the sanctify of human life, away from the sister or brother who has a great need, away from generosity of life and the gentleness of spirit. Away is where we head. Safe distance is what we’re seeking. “All we like sheep” … the farther the better. And safer, too.
But Jesus doesn’t keep the distance. After all, He is the Good Shepherd. When He sees us off in the distance of our runaway, rebel lives, He doesn’t wait for an “ALL CLEAR” from the local health authorities. He just takes out running. Running after us. Running to us.
At His cross, we see in stark measure just how close He comes. We smell His bloodied sweat, the sour odor of His cheap-wine breadth, the grey heaviness of death itself. It hangs around Him—hangs on Him. He is that close to us. No safe distance here. The heavy-weight floor-to-ceiling Temple curtain is sliced in two. And we are face-to-face with God Himself!
It is what Holy Week is all about. The Lord draws near. And He will get close.