In-person worship services will be held as scheduled this Sunday. Please use discretion when determining whether roads are safe for your personal travel.
If you are unable to travel, consider joining worship online HERE at 7:30, 9, 11 or 5pm, on-demand at Resurrection’s YouTube channel, or on TV at KMCI 38 at 8am or 11am.
We are watching the weather and at this time the Car Show is still on as scheduled for the public, open from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. We will keep you updated as conditions change.
1 So what are we going to say? Should we continue sinning so grace will multiply? 2 Absolutely not! All of us died to sin. How can we still live in it? 3 Or don’t you know that all who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore, we were buried together with him through baptism into his death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life. 5 If we were united together in a death like his, we will also be united together in a resurrection like his. 6 This is what we know: the person that we used to be was crucified with him in order to get rid of the corpse that had been controlled by sin. That way we wouldn’t be slaves to sin anymore, 7 because a person who has died has been freed from sin’s power. 8 But if we died with Christ, we have faith that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ has been raised from the dead and he will never die again. Death no longer has power over him. 10 He died to sin once and for all with his death, but he lives for God with his life. 11 In the same way, you also should consider yourselves dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.
Verse 1 showed that some people tried to discredit the apostle Paul by saying, “Let’s keep sinning, so there can be even more grace.” He replied, “Absolutely not.” (The Greek literally meant “May it never be!”) That question was not imaginary, and not just in the first century. For instance, the infamous Russian monk Rasputin justified immoral acts by saying God’s grace needed something to forgive. But Paul said baptism, identifies us with Jesus’ death. He wrote to living people about the same idea: “You died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:4). He extended the metaphor—as Jesus rose from the dead, our baptism means that now we can “walk in newness of life.” Growing that newness in our lives is the main focus of Ash Wednesday and Lent. (If you’ve never been baptized, click here to find information.)
Jesus, to call you “Lord” is not to say, “Thanks for letting me off the hook.” It is to say, “I want you, not my broken habits or instincts, to rule my life.” Thank you for giving me the promise of a better way to live. Amen.
It was my first Ash Wednesday in ministry, and I was both anxious and excited about marking people’s foreheads with a cross of ashes. I was determined to do it the “right” way, so I incinerated the previous year’s leftover palms from Palm Sunday, discovering that home-burned palms are clumpy and full of little sticks. No matter. In my earnestness, I was certain that if Jesus used real palm ashes for Ash Wednesday, then so would I. (I know, I know, but you can’t argue with the earnestness of a young pastor.)
At the appointed moment in the worship service, I stood semi-anxiously at the front of the sanctuary, holding my bowl of clumpy, stick-y ashes. The first person came forward, and my smudging was timid, leaving barely a mark. Determined to do better on the next person, I dabbed my ashing thumb extra-deep into the ashes. The resulting mark on her forehead was decisive, broadcasting to all her repentance and mortality. This ashing, I knew, was worthy of the solemnity of the day. Except that one of the many charred clumps fell off my thumb, landing squarely on the nose of the soundly-ashed woman.
I decided that I would wipe the errant clump away quickly. As I wiped, I made an awful discovery. Ashes smudge. They smear. They spread everywhere they are wiped. I had just done an outstanding job of smearing ashes all across the unsuspecting woman standing in front of me. My pastoral earnestness turned quickly into abject mortification as I looked at the smudgy nose and cheeks of this woman, knowing that she had no idea yet about what I had done to her face.
I offer this true story to you at the start of Lent as a reminder of how messy sin can be. We do things that seem little to us. It’s just a small lie that won’t hurt anyone. The store owner won’t miss this one thing. I’m not gossiping if what I’m saying is true. Everyone cheats on their taxes. These things seem too small to qualify as “sin.” And yet. Just like that tiny clump of ash, a small sin can spread so quickly, messing up so many things.
Just as that overly-ashed woman found herself scrubbing her face after the service, may we also take time to cleanse ourselves from the sin that clings to us. May the words of Hebrews 12:1 guide us into a holy Lent: “. . . let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. . .”
* NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook (Kindle Locations 255705-255707). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.