How do you describe something as supernatural as our encounter with God on Sunday – awesome, amazing, powerful, deep, life changing, scary? How could something as simple as dipping our fingers in water unleash such a sense of freedom? Or was it the act of making the sign of the cross on our forehead as we turned away from the baptismal font? Did you sense the anointing power of the Holy Spirit? I know I did.
Pastor Sean’s message was very encouraging and applicable. Make no mistake about that, okay? I mean, who doesn’t need to hear the challenge of S.T.A.R.T. – to stop making excuses, take inventory, act in faith, refocus and trust God. Good stuff, all of it, and a lot to think about. Just acting on one of those challenges can make a huge difference in how we live our lives!
But I think something more was going on in most of us when we walked to that font, don’t you? “Faith is moving forward in spite of fear,” Pastor Sean told us. And for some of us, it wasn’t easy to get out of our seats. But move we did. “He who conceals his sins does not prosper,” Proverbs 28:13 says, “but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Visibly displaying our need to go deeper with Jesus, to start fresh in 2016, and to “replace priorities that have been brain drains” required a high level of vulnerability. Again, not an admission that is so easy for most of us. But we did it!!
In February, our focus turns to Lent – the forty days (not counting Sundays) that lead to Easter. Repentance, confession, fasting, and participating in Holy Communion are all holy habits that help us get a new perspective of the cross and the power of Jesus’ blood. It’s a fitting follow-up to our new S.T.A.R.T., don’t you think? We are new creations in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), and defined no longer by our past mistakes. It’s a new year and a new you, full of joy, hope and life!
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your mind because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.” (Col. 1:21-23).
I can still feel the sign of the cross I made on my forehead. I hope you can, too, my friend.