Saturday, March 14, 2015

Just As I Am -

Reflections on the Readings

March 15, 2015 - Year B
Fourth Sunday of Lent 

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 

Lent, if it is anything, is a spiritual necessity. We need this season of grace to know more assuredly Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It is a season in which to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Savior, Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18) We don't want our relationship with Jesus to be a periphery experience that's something like a spare tire, there if we need help.

The readings today speak of the endless mercy of our Father. If we spurn, ignore, resist and otherwise push him away, the Lord remains rich in mercy. In countless ways and by the many inspired voices of his messengers and prophets and apostles he tells us of his undying love for us. Even when we go astray adding infidelity upon infidelity and look more like the world around us than like the Lord above us he reaches out to us. He finds a way when there seems to be no way. He sends us his mercy because of his great love for us. 

Even when we were dead in our trespasses and sins God so loved the world and gave us his only Son. The Apostle Paul explains that it is by grace we have been saved and that in the ages to come, seated with Christ in the heavenly places, he will show us the immeasurable riches of his grace and kindness.

How is it possible to be surrounded by all the sacraments of grace and mercy and yet not know Christ as Savior and Lord in every facet of our living? Have you invited Jesus into your heart and surrendered yourself to him and to his embrace? Christ stands at the door and knocks. Are you there? Will you let him in? We must, you know. We cannot make heaven our home unless we allow Jesus to be at home in our hearts. The Savior of the world made us the center of his affection when he died on the cross for us. Now let us come to him in this great season of Lent and invite Christ to be the center of our lives. 

We cannot make ourselves holy. Only in Christ can we live and have the hope of heaven. In the sacraments of initiation, baptism, confirmation, and eucharist, Christ comes to us and receives us. Let us love him back. Let's come back to him more often and welcome him more and more into our hearts. It's true, without him we are nothing, but in Christ we are more than conquerors. In Christ we learn that real strength is faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love and it never fails. 

Jesus will begin with us right where we are. A popular hymn of invitation in the evangelical world is Just as I am. It's inspiring and welcoming words include:

Just as I am, without one plea, 
but that thy blood was shed for me, 
and that thou bidst me come to thee, 
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.   

Just as I am, thy love unknown 
hath broken every barrier down; 
now, to be thine, yea thine alone, 
O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 

May we come one and all to him who does not condemn but rather receives us so that through him we might be saved. 

Dear Jesus, I come. Just as I am, I come. Amen

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