Innocent by association
Holy Trinity Church Huddersfield, Sunday 17 March 2019
40 Blogs of Lent: 11
We awoke to a day of bright sunshine, but there was heavy hail during breakfast which thankfully was much lighter and by the time we had walked to church had turned to snow. The trip back was cold but fine, so we returned through the park.
In the service, after the sermon we wrote our names on pieces of coloured paper and attached them to a large wooden cross to show that in God’s eyes we are innocent by association with Jesus and what he achieved for us on the cross.
That however is dealing with the conclusion of the sermon before I have mentioned what it was about. Curate Steve gave the sermon, Vicar Mike is at home with his feet up on doctors’ orders following an operation on his feet.
We are all Barabbas
Steve’s sermon went something like this, at least the bits that stood out to me: Sermons during Lent are on different aspects of the cross, and Steve was preaching in a reading from chapters 52 and 53 of Isaiah.
The cross tests everything, probes everything, it shows that we can do nothing for ourselves and that God does everything. The cross is how we are returned to oneness with God. Jesus has carried our ad thoughts and deeds, it is by his wounds that we are healed. Jesus came not to be served by us but to serve and to give himself for many.
God is a God of love not of anger, but when in the presence of injustice love shows itself in the form of anger. God’s anger is because of his love for us. We all have sinned, we are all short of God’s glory so that when I pray for God to get rid of sinful people we are asking for him to get rid of me. But Jesus takes our punishment on himself.
People are judged by the company they keep. Jesus was not criticised in his ministry for being theologically unsound, but because he hung around with publicans, prostitutes and sinners. We are all Barabbas, we are all people who go free whilst another is punished in our place.
Jesus was judged by his association with us, we are declared innocent by God because of our association with Jesus. We are nailed to the cross in association with Jesus.
The cross becomes central in all we do. We nailed our names to the cross as a sign that we associate with Jesus. A really good response which took longer than the song that was to cover for this, even with repetitions, and was still going on as the last prayer was being said.
Are you going to associate yourself with Jesus?