Welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.
My friend, may I ask you a question today? Is there a sweetness given each of us to share despite the gruesome reality of our Savior’s passion? Are we thankful? Perhaps we keep coming back to the cross because we’re compelled to know more of Christ’s purposes despite the fact these must always lie just beyond our deepest knowing.
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
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Holly and I enjoy vacationing on the shores of Lake Superior. For us it’s a long drive of over six hours, a drive that I used to make without much effort. Even though as I get older driving has become more and more problematic, nearly every year around June we begin planning for the trip to Lake Superior, fully aware that it will be a six hour drive with three wiener dogs and a loaded camping trailer. This past weekend we returned home; another six hour drive. Nevertheless, we continue to do it year after year. This year we found a great campsite, parked the trailer and proceeded to do what we always do when we arrive; walk over to the bluff overlooking Lake Superior and just soak in the surf, the sand and the view. Although it’s just water, rocks and sand, there’s something about Lake Superior that keeps drawing us back. In a very special way it’s a communion of Mark, Holly, weiner dogs, truck, trailer and Lake Superior. We’re always thankful when we arrive and similarly thankful when we return home, knowing we’ll likely return in another 12 months. It’s hard to explain specifically what calls us year after year, but it’s an imperative call, hard to overlook or ignore despite the long drive.
Communion is like that because it is a sharing with, holding on to, becoming part of, and drawing feeling from. We bring our lives, full of busyness and anxiety, and give them, in a sense, to the Lake. In return we receive a sense of calm and serenity from the Lake. We own that for another year until a similar exchange can be made next year.
Here’s a story. Three times a month, Jermaine Washington and Michelle Stevens get together, commune, for what they call a “gratitude lunch.” With good reason! Washington donated a kidney to Stevens, whom he described as “just a friend.” They met at work where they used to have lunch together. One day Michelle wept as she spoke about waiting on a kidney donor list for 11 months. She was being sustained by kidney dialysis, but suffered chronic fatigue and blackouts and was plagued by joint pain. Because Washington couldn’t stand the thought of watching his friend die, he gave her one of his kidneys. When you’ve got something great to be thankful for, having a “gratitude lunch” is a great way to celebrate.
(Today in the Word, November 14, 1993.)
When Jesus shared with his disciples the ultimate and tragic end of his ministry, his death on the cross, he knew that they would not be able to understand. That wasn’t his point. He shared these things because he wanted to be in communion with them, taking them into his purposes, giving them an opportunity to share in them. Like the call of Lake Superior, it was compelling if not wholly understood. Like Jermaine and Michelle, it was a thankful sharing in suffering. As Christians we too find ourselves compelled by the passion of Jesus Christ. It shows us how unworthy we are to share in that passion, so we stand on the bluffs of our sin, overlooking the awesome power and glory spread out beyond us. Nonetheless, there will be a sweetness that is given each of us to share despite the gruesome reality of our Savior’s passion. We are redeemed and twice bought. How can we not be thankful? That’s why we keep coming back to the cross; like Lake Superior for Holly and I, it’s compelling beyond our deepest knowing.
We pray. Heavenly Father, despite the brutal suffering and pain that was inflicted upon on Savior, we still experience joy in this, His blood has bought us back and we are yours, a chosen generation that you will never lose. May His suffering remind us that each of us is bought with a very, very high price. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day.
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