Know & Enjoy

Cross-Shaped Worship

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“Jesus has met you here.” Those are words we hear from our pastors every Sunday at the Lutheran Church of Webster Gardens. And it’s true. It’s all because Jesus died on the cross, taking upon himself the punishment our sins deserved. By his death and resurrection, Jesus bridged the gap that separates us from God. Because of the cross, we are forgiven and holy in God’s sight. Therefore, when we gather to worship, God comes to us with the full measure of his grace and mercy. But there’s more…

Worship certainly begins with God coming to us. But because of the cross, we have been given free access to the throne of God. As we worship, we send our praise and prayers up to Him. Ephesians 2:18 says, “Through [Jesus] we have access to the Father by one Spirit.” And in Ephesians 3:12 we learn, “In [Jesus], and through faith in Him, we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” So, like the vertical beam of the cross, the exchange of love and blessing flow up and down between God and His children.

God’s Love ↓ Our Prayers and Praise ↑

Don’t miss this extraordinary miracle that takes place in worship. Cherish it! Just remember, there’s another dimension to worship we can’t ignore. Jesus said in John 13:34, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” The people who come together their worship are part of the Body of Christ, which is described in Ephesians 1:23 as the “fullness of [Jesus] who fills everything in every way.” Stop. Read that again. That’s big! This is the reason it is important to worship in community rather than in isolation.

Furthermore, the church is a place where we are equipped and inspired to extend the love we share with God and our brothers and sisters in the church with the whole world! So, like the horizontal beam of the cross, the love of God flows through us as we express grace, forgiveness and mercy with our fellow Christians, and with all those we meet in our neighborhoods and around the world.

Love for fellow Christians ↔ Love for the whole world

Of course, at the crossbeams of worship is Jesus. He is at the very center as we gather in His name. “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Ephesians 2:9-11). So whenever you come to church, be sure to go with the flow…the cross-shaped flow of worship!

Posted by Sandi Geis with

Don’t Skip The Cross On The Way To Easter

A member of one of our former congregations, I’ll call him “Fred,” was a responsible farmer and faithful Christian. Fred was a devout worshipper. He never missed a Sunday service, even during the wheat harvest, when most other farmers skipped church to tend to the time-sensitive work of harvesting their crops. There was, however, one worship service each year that Fred refused to attend—Good Friday.

Fred could not understand how Christians, who put their hope in Jesus’ victory over death and the grave by rising on Easter, would want to focus on the horrors of His suffering and death. He argued that since we are forgiven, and because Jesus took our sins away, why would we want to revisit that place of darkness year after year?

Sadly, Fred missed out on a lot by skipping Good Friday and jumping straight to Easter.  1 Corinthians 1:18, says that to those who are being saved, the cross is the power of God! The apostle Paul also said, in Galatians 6:14, that the only thing worth boasting about is the cross of Jesus, through which “the world was crucified to me and I to the world.” Certainly, it’s at the cross where we can truly come to grips with the depravity of our sinful lives. It’s at the cross that we get a picture of the punishment our sins deserve when we hear Jesus cry out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) Gut wrenching? Yes! Gruesome? Yes! Convicting? Yes! Yet, It’s at the cross where the sacrificial and unconditional love of God is most graphically demonstrated.

At the cross, we hear Jesus say, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) With His final breath, Jesus sealed the deal that paid for our redemption. By His wounds, we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5) As His body is buried, we are reminded that our old, sinful nature is buried with him and, like Jesus, we are raised to a new life. It’s at the cross where we see the temple curtain torn in two, the dramatic sign that the separation between God and man had been restored. Therefore, our worship on Good Friday is so much more than focusing on our failures or on the unjust suffering of Jesus. It is a day of thanksgiving—deep, heart-felt thanksgiving for the incredible act of Jesus that rescued us from eternal death and separation from God. It is a day to bow down in reverence and awe before Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame; (Hebrews 12:2) scorning our shame. Why would we want to miss that? That is how we get to Easter.

Our journey to Easter by way of the cross is the only way to experience this holy day in all its glory and eternal-life-changing meaning for our lives. Having been to the cross, we can raise our alleluias all the louder because Jesus, whom we witnessed suffering, bleeding and dying on a cross, for our sake and in our place, has conquered death and won for us eternal life. “Death has been swallowed up in victory…thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (1 Corinthians 15, 54, 56)

Don’t skip the cross on the way to Easter this year. Let us worship there together and experience the full measure of the blessing of Christ Jesus.

Posted by Sandi Geis with

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