3rd Sunday of Easter: Forgiven Leaders

We are forgiven leaders.  Sinners by nature, saints by grace.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus asks Peter, three times, whether he loves him, and if he does, to care for His Sheep.  Each time coincides with the times Peter denied Jesus.  Each time, Peter seems to be forgiven on the account of his repentant love for Jesus.  Each time, Peter is reinstated as the Rock and Leader of the early church.  He is also reminded of his future death: on the cross, upside down.

We are sinners by nature, saints by grace.

As for my sin, I’ve dealt with serious rage.  Anger that could hurt others and damage my relationships with all.  While God looked down on my rage, as I did not love my neighbors, friends, loved ones, myself, as I should, he did not cast me from his presence.  Instead, he lovingly opened his arms to me, enveloping me in his grace in the waters of baptism.  There, I was rinsed clean, even if it was just by pouring.  Even by baptism of pouring, every sin was poured from my head into the baptismal waters, forever erased like bleach to stains.  I was forgiven.  I was and am considered a saint.

Worthy was the Lamb to receive honor and blessing and wisdom.  And worthy are believers who accept the Lamb, too.  Because when we join God’s people, we receive, albeit slowly, all the honor, the blessings, and the wisdom.  We gain new insight into the Kingdom of God in the here and now, seeing others as Beloveds of God no matter their spiritual status.  All are Beloved.

How many times I’ve cried for help from the Lord, and he has healed me.  He was erased all my fears and their monumental desire to kill my spirit.  He has, having already wiped my slate clean from his eyes, helped me grow in relationship with Him and further work on my anger issues.  He has helped me become medicated, work through therapy, and work on not just apologizing, but making those apologies count the first time.  

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Saul is one of those forgiven leaders.  

He sinned greatly against God’s people, but Christ saw him on the a road to a larger city.  Paul was on a mission to destroy the church, and God’s mission was to destroy Paul’s ego, pride, anger, and prejudice.

God does that to a lot of people.

God used Paul and created in him a better man than ever, more than his previous religion could.  

Because it isn’t religion that saves us – it is God in Christ.  We are sinners by nature, but by grace, Christ saves us and endows us with all the wisdom, love, honor, and a multitude of blessings.  More than any person could handle.  

God loves that much.  Jesus, the God in the flesh, loves us so much.

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Today, in church, we sang about how much Jesus loves us, and how much we love Jesus.  In the multitude of hymns we sang today, we learned that we love Jesus because he first loved us!  As future Christians, we might have cried to God to heal us.  Before we were Christians, we were sinners, but Jesus loved us so much that he helped us enter the waters of baptism on our own free will, eager to join the church’s covenant. 

We are still eager to serve Jesus, by loving God and loving others. 

Alleluia.  How could you be a forgiven leader in this day and age?

Love,
Leigh Todd

Devotional: 2nd Sunday of Easter

  • Rev. 1:4-8
  • John 20:19-31

This Sunday is the second Sunday of Easter. It is officially Eastertide, or Easter Season. As I read the lectionary for this weekend, I noticed this: God is all. He is three in one. He is Father, Son, and Spirit.

I am just a lowly being like doubting Thomas. When Thomas touched the side of Jesus and the wounds in his hands, he realized at once that the man he had followed for so long was God incarnate.

This might have not dawned on Thomas until that moment.

As some of you know, I’ve been following Jesus since my baptism for three years now. But it wasn’t until Maundy Thursday that I believed in Jesus as God Incarnate. I had to imagine God washing my feet to realize the humbleness God showed in Jesus. Just as the psalm says by Paul “Even though he was God, he humbled himself in the form of a slave, in obedience to God the Father.”

How can we imagine this Jesus as God incarnate? Not just as a man, but the God who humbled himself last Friday on to the cross for our sake? The God who died to draw all to himself, because he wants to get to know each and every one of us?

Because Jesus is the God Almighty, who was, who is, and is to come. But what does that mean, especially in our relationship to Him?

It means that God was there when we were children, meek, annoying, gullible, and so loved by him. Even if your childhood was less than okay, he was there. And he is here now, loving us and cheering us on. He arranges our every day Life to let us see his love, even in ways we wouldn’t expect.

Let us love God back. Let us cherish him as he will cherish us in the future, because his love never stops.

When we are old, and die, he will welcome us in his Kingdom, where all will be well. This love will never end.

So, as you feel the touch of Jesus in your life, be glad that he will ALWAYS be there. Past, present, and future.

To the glorious future ahead.

Do not doubt like me or Thomas, just believe.

Father in Heaven, who came in the form of Jesus, and is with now in God the Spirit, let us acknowledge you as Sovereign of Love in our lives. Even when we cannot love ourselves, or others refuse to love us, you have loved us, love us now, and will love us always as believers. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Alleluia and Amen.

Life Update: A Decision Has Been Made

Hi Everyone,
I’m almost done with spring semester, and this school year in general, and have been going through a whirlwind year of faith discovery.

First, I’ve discovered that I cannot repent enough to be saved, so I’ve figured out by heart that I am saved by grace and cannot lose my salvation by works. I can, however, lose salvation if I completely reject God, though. I’d have to spit in the face of God to do that. So, I’m Arminian by faith.

Second, I’ve been going back and forth on the Trinity for the past month to two months. I’m not exactly sure when I started getting interested in the Trinity, but it’s been growing on me ever since. Last week, after my last flip-flop (and confusing posts on the blog and Instagram), I decided to stick with the Trinity. I’ve now told others that I’m interested in studying it, and they are holding me accountable.

This journey with Christ is interesting, but I know the first two things to do are: Write letters to Christ about his mortal journey, and meditate on the presence and love of God in Christ. God is still God – he just came in the form of Jesus. So, the Son is also God. Trippy, but cool. I still pray to Heavenly Father, but I’ve been acknowledging Jesus as God the Son and mediator to the Father.

Now is the time to build my testimony of the God in Christ.

I’m mourning the loss of a Unitarian faith, but with each passing day, it seems to be getting better. I don’t like conservative Christianity that lacks social justice and fighting for the oppressed, though. If I’m ever going to be a trinitarian Christian, I’m going to be a progressive, open-minded, justice-fighting Christian. We are meant to love our neighbors as Christ loved us, right?

This is a strange and weird territory, but I know I can do this. I do sincerely apologize for all the flip-floppy posts on here. I’ve decided to keep them up to show my sincere faith journey.

Alleluia – Christ is Risen! Now as God became a servant on the cross for us, let us serve our fellow neighbors for God.

Amen.

Tiny Testimony: What Does Easter Have to do with Progressive Christians?

A Tiny note:

We are forgiven, from a past, present, and future sins.  This does not give us an excuse to do wrong, but to use our freedom wisely.  To do good for all.

What does being forgiven mean for progressive Christians?  It means all the hate we’ve spewed, whether on purpose or by accident, is not held against us by God in Jesus.  It means the racism, bigotry, and Islamophobia that is rampant in our country, while it will be discussed between sinful folks and Jesus at judgement, does not curse us from God’s reign.  It also means, as we celebrate Easter this Sunday, that racism and all other horrible things against others and our Earth are not the last act.  They do not have the final word.  While there is trouble, Jesus overcame the world and all its troubles, and will endow and has already endowed us with God’s Kingdom on Earth, in Heaven, and in the Resurrection.  We can never escape God’s reign if we are believers.  

If we are believers, we can have a surety of hope that death is not the end.  Death due to hatred is not the end.  Our Earth, while falling apart, will be renewed as the city of the New Jerusalem will come down.  Love has the final word.  

Love has the final word.

Happy Easter everyone! As I’ve still discovering the Trinity, I’m learning more about having a relationship with Jesus and am building my own testimony of Him.

I’m so sorry I’ve been so flip-floppy on the Trinity vs. Unitarianism, but I think I’ve made up my mind.

Alleluia.  Christ is Risen Indeed!

Amen.

A Prayer to Jesus: Holy Thursday

Dear Jesus,

I heard that you washed your friends feet.  As God in the flesh, you descended from on high to Earth, where you humbled yourself even deeper, to the status of servant to your friends.  You considered all of us your friends, because you had revealed the secrets to the Kingdom of God to us.  You shared an intimacy with us that only you had shared with God (although I’m still trying to figure out what that means actually).  

It is as if we are there when you first washed our feet.  We are there.  We were there, with you.

That is very comforting.  You humbled yourself to us as friends.  You were that humble, O God.  You humbled yourself so deeply in humanity that you had friends, so that on the cross you were human completely.  So completely you were human that you thought God the Father had forsaken you.  You felt that alone.

I thank you, in your humble name.  Amen.