Two weeks ago I wrote a letter to The Beacon to share the frustrating news that the Baby Jesus from our outdoor Nativity scene had been stolen.
A few days after the letter was printed, those who took it evidently had a change of heart, because the Baby Jesus was returned. We found the Christ Child hanging in our little Buckeye tree in front of our house, heaved there in haste no doubt so the kidnappers could maintain their anonymity. 😉
Some of our friends expressed disdain as to how He was returned but I assured them that even as the real Messiah Babe was laid in a Bethlehem feeding trough, He was destined to be found hanging on a tree; and did that for us.
The Apostle Peter wrote, “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth. When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:22-25, NIV)
A New Year has begun. Many of you reading this have no doubt made resolutions. Before your newly purchased exercise equipment becomes a great place to hang-dry your freshly washed sweaters, I have a suggestion to add to your 2013 list: Find a church family in the coming weeks and plant you and your family in it.
While Millersport Covenant welcomes worshipers in the cafeteria at Millersport Elementary every Sunday at 10 a.m., the Buckeye Lake area is surrounded by many wonderful churches and they, like us, will welcome you with open arms. No–none of us is perfect. And yes–we all have our problems. Essentially we are congregations made up of rebellious thieves who once mocked God until we realized He died for us.
In his book, The Perfect Church, Edwin Hurley writes: “What makes a church perfect is imperfect people like you and me caring enough about God and each other, and bringing enough of our real, broken, imperfect lives to the Lord who can take them and make us new. Jesus Christ, who turned water into wine, can turn imperfect people like you and me into new people. He can create the perfect, or the real, church.”
I think Hurley spells it out pretty well while D. A. Carlson puts it this way with respect to the body of Christ: “What binds us together is not common education, common race, common income levels, common politics, common nationality, common accents, common jobs, or anything else of that sort. Christians come together because they have all been loved by Jesus Himself. They are a band of natural enemies who love one another for Jesus’ sake.”
I pray your New Year is not Christ-less but Christ-full, a year where the Good News becomes real to the core of your being, where God’s truth and love co-mingle inside your hearts, and you come to realize you have been made to be a child of God.
Grateful for the return of Christ and ever rooting for you,
Pastor Steve Bush