Die, Live, Forgive
Called to Die. The Christian life is not the life you were born with! But it is the life that God wants you to have. But the only way to have it is to make an exchange: You freely laying down your old life and God freely giving you the gift of a new one. This is why we, like the grain of wheat in the Gospel, first have to die before we can live… for Christ. As we see in the first reading from the prophet Jeremiah, the old life, like the Old Covenant, was marred by broken promises, broken hearts and shattered dreams. Commitments made but not kept; oaths taken but not lived up to; love pledged but frequently betrayed were all the legacy of sin that ended in exile and death. So, God calls us to die to ourselves and this legacy of sin and instead take up a new profession: Living for Him. How do begin? Repenting of our sins and asking for a NEW heart!
Called to Live. I once knew a man suffering from a very bad and rare form of heart disease. He was told that he needed a heart transplant! Without this delicate and very complicated operation, he was not going to survive very long. In other words, he needed a new heart to live. In the hymn, Give me a clean Heart based on today’s Psalm (51), we sing: “Give me a clean heart, that I may serve Thee”. God says, ‘I will make a new covenant with (my people)… I will place my law within them and write it on their hearts”(Jer. 31). We need healthy hearts to live healthy lives. We need Godly hearts to live holy lives! We need clean hearts with his law of love engraved on them. Then we can answer the call to live… for Him and for others!
Called to Forgive. Jesus’s entire human life was about one thing: reconciling the world to his Father in heaven; and it would require the sacrifice of his life to accomplish this mission. When we die to self and live for him we instantly realize that his mission is now our mission. What will be the unique characteristics that clearly distinguish our new lives from the old way of life? Forgiveness and reconciliation. When you forgive another from your heart, you sabotage Satan’s master plan and conquer hell itself. The glorious finale of Jesus human life was not the resurrection, but the crucifixion! The glory of the cross is Christ willingness to accept its excruciating pain in order to demonstrate his unshakable love and trust for his Father and his Father’s indomitable love for us. Christ’s mission is now your mission: Trust God no matter how painful the circumstances and forgive others no matter what the cost.