We capped off our Advent series with “love”. During previous weeks, we covered hope, peace, and joy using an Advent candle wreath to helps us with the symbolism. I have to tell you that while this season is probably the most hectic time of the year, the Advent series has probably been my favorite each year. There is just something amazing about the process of trying to rekindle the essence of the enormity of the hope that God gave the world in sending His Son to live among us and suffer for us, so that we could have the opportunity to choose.
Each of us can just as easily say “no” as “yes”. That fact alone makes His willing sacrifice all the more poignant – that He would do so, knowing that some of that blood could be shed in vain. I can already imagine that some of you reading this would take pause at my assertion that Jesus’ blood could be shed in vain. But isn’t that what happens when a soul so dear to God (all souls are) would choose to forgo such an awesome gift, especially when He paid so great a price?
One of the songs that Josh chose for the worship set completely took me by surprise. I had been listening to David Crowder’s “Church Music” album since release. It is an amazing work, by the way. The song Josh played is He Love Us. I am serious when I say that I have probably heard that song fifty times since release. But Sunday, as I saw the words on the screen, I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of them. Even as I prepared the message, which was intended to spur my folks toward a richer understanding of God’s love, I was not prepared for what God would do in my own heart.
I have a definition for worship that I have used many times. Loosely, it is that true worship happens when we are confronted by the enormity and awesomeness of God, and realize just how small we are. That is what happened to me as I sang that song. In fact, at one point I actually stopped singing and began praying. But what surprised me was that my prayers were not of “my” thanksgiving, nor were they for God to have mercy on “me”.
I saw an image in my mind of Christ on the cross, His precious blood falling onto people in robes. It would fall on some who would treasure that drop as more precious than gold. There were others who were trying to remove the persistent stain, eventually throwing their garment into a fire. I began praying for people I know who have not chosen to follow God. I prayed that somehow God would use me to portray His love as faithfully as possible (for this human shell) so that they would choose “yes”. Whatever I can do to this end, may each precious drop count.
In His grip!
Herb Halstead, Pastor