Would it surprise you if I told you that the meditation of my heart came not just from yesterday’s church service, but from an afternoon viewing of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides?
I find it amazing how when God has something to say He will use all means at His disposal (which is everything in heaven and earth) to communicate his truth. (I’ll try not to include any spoilers in case you haven’t seen the movie).
But let me start with church. Yesterday we focused on communion and the cross. We looked at the need to examine ourselves, but how we should ONLY examine ourselves in light of the cross. If we just start to look deeply into our lives we can end up depressed and hopeless. We have nothing good in ourselves. Our flesh is dead in our sins. We’re not just in a bad way when we are apart from Christ, we’re dead! But when we look at our sin, uncover our idols, confront the decaying state of our flesh while looking to the cross, we find hope and grace, forgiveness and joy and life! The cross is about making the dead come alive, that’s redemption!
So what in the world does that have to do with a pirate movie? Well, a lot actually. In fact, the film had multiple scenes with intriguing spiritual themes, but the scene that I’m thinking of is wrapped up in a single sentence. It’s just one line toward the end of the story. Captain Jack Sparrow comments on someone’s death and the fact that in death that person gave another life. And the captain, in an offhand remark, suggests that the act may have accomplished their redemption.
This is what the world believes. One great sacrificial act can bring redemption and wipe the slate clean. And that’s not entirely wrong.
One great sacrificial act did bring redemption and allow the slate of sin to be wiped clean.
The great problem is that the world thinks that man can do it for man. As in the film, the world suggests that one great, sacrificial act by a sinful man on behalf of another sinful man will bring about redemption. But that is simply not true. A dead man can not give another dead man life. Only a sinless one can redeem the sinful. Only God could be the sacrifice and bring redemption.
And the amazing thing is that He did. Not by coercion or obligation or trickery, but because of His great love. He chose to die in our place, to give us His life. And then He rose from death to take up His life once again.
This is the glory of the cross. The grace of God.
One great sacrificial act that gives us life.
And that is the beginning of today’s thankful list (excerpts from 331 to 354)
- That one great sacrificial act, the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, gives us life! We are fully redeemed, forgiven, set free. All our sins, all our idols, the death that we carry around in our flesh, all of is it swallowed up by His life.
- The snail with the perfect black stripe (God’s creative painting)
- Surprise phone calls
- Splatter’s of rain, drawing a line in the dirt – standing on the edge of a cloud
- The porch swing and pine boughs
- His glory poured into these jars of clay – what amazing grace that His glory is revealed in my weakness
- Provision – New Tires
- Blessings that catch you by surprise – a gift of orchid stems of beauty
- His invitation awaiting my response, never withdrawn
- His invitation to dwell in His presence – what magnificent grace
- Friends who accept me “just as I am”
- Sunday afternoon nap in a patch of sunlight (I sound just like a cat!)
- Seeds sprouting from the soil (so surprised that they are actually growing)
- A crescent moon on a clear summer’s night