4 Pentecost

Gen. 22:1-14 or Jer. 28:5-9
Ps. 13 or Ps. 89:1-4, 15-18
Rom. 6:12-23
Matt. 10:40-42

We go into the world as images of the one who is the perfect image of the Father. “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me” (Matt. 10:40). Jesus is the Way, and no one comes to the Father except through him, ultimately, that is. Every disciple of Jesus Christ is a small “way.” If we are received, Christ is received. If Christ is received, the Father is received.  This reception occurs in the power of the Holy Spirit and creates a bond of peace that links heaven and earth. In every aspect of life, we are Christ-bearers in the world.

As temples of the risen Lord, we take his life-giving power into the world. We are agents of his healing, forgiveness, teaching, hope, joy; and, most significantly, the promise of a whole new life that is stronger than death. Death is overcome in Christ Jesus.

We carry within ourselves also the wounds and suffering of Christ as we are stripped moment by moment of the old humanity. Though dying, we live; though being stripped of what is old, we are clothed in what is new. There is, then, a kind of continual sacrifice offered on the altar of the human heart. The Old Adam is dying so that Christ may be the New Being of our lives. The cost of this sacrifice is, humanly speaking, impossible. The Old Adam is what we have known and what constantly attempts to claim our allegiance. Sin, the flesh, and the devil, will not go down quietly.

So, God calls us to sacrifice our lives in union with the sacrifice of his Son. God shows us a place, as happened once to Father Abraham, a place where we are to give up what is most dear. It is a deeply troubling story, but one that reverberates with meaning because we all will and must give up everything eventually, everything we care about and everyone we love. Abraham had a heavy heart, Abraham carried the fire and the knife, Abraham raised his hand against Isaac. Just in time, the angel of the Lord intervened.

In Christ, we see the Son of God offered on behalf of the ungodly. The devil seems to have swallowed him in death, but, in truth, Christ is the devil’s poison, the bait which the devil and death and the sepulcher cannot stomach for long. Christ burst forth from death and the grave, and, in him, the New Humanity begins. We have died with Christ and are dying with Christ. We have risen and are rising with him. Our old life has been sacrificed in the land of Moriah, in the place the Lord has shown, on a hill outside the city, the place of skulls.

We no longer use our lives and gifts as instruments of wickedness. We offer ourselves as instruments of righteousness. We are no longer slaves to sin, but obedient to Christ from the heart and conformed to his life. The end of the Old Adam is death; our new purpose in Christ is sanctification and glory (Rom. 6:12-23).

We present ourselves to the world as vessels of the risen Lord. We give ourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life. We have died with Christ so that we may live anew.

Every moment of every day is a sacrificial death and the promise of resurrection.

Look It Up:  Read Psalm 13:2.

Think About It: Perplexity and grief are the death we all feel, and yet we trust in God’s mercy and saving help.