Saturday, April 7, 2007

He loved us anyway

This is a grace-saturated week! How can it be that we celebrate Holy Week after Holy Week for more than 2,000 years and each and every year it is new? God never stops providing the grace. We just have to be open to it.

Yesterday, on the Town Green we had our annual New Milford Faith Walk - as the Christian churches in town come together to remember the last moments of Jesus' life and death. As a side note, I have never experienced a more collegial and communal group of clergy than I have in New Milford. It is a joy and honor to minister with my fellow clergy in this town.

I think for everyone, though, one reflection stood out among the rest. Rev. Matthew Yukon, pastor of Northville Baptist Church, offered the reflection at the station commemorating Peter's thrice denial of Jesus after He was arrested by the soldiers.

Pastor Matt explained that this passage is a lesson for Christians who in their lives commit acts of betrayal, yet are forgiven and loved by a God willing to send his only son to die for humanity's sins. Matt allowed himself to be incredibly vulnerable with the 100 or so people gathered and shared a moving story of how, as a young boy, his notoriously bad temper got the better of him. One day, after a bad bout with his temper, he left a very cruel, angry note under his mother's pillow. It was a note that she discovered a while later; at which point she gathered her children and demanded to know who had written it. Matt shared that he, at the time, strongly denied that it was him - perhaps three times?

It was an experience that has stayed with him, heavy on his heart, since that time in his youth. But, on a recent visit with his mother, the two were talking over coffee and out of no where he blurted out his confession from all those years ago. "I wrote that note," he told his mother. She laughed and said to him, "Of course you wrote the note. Who else could have written it?"

Mom knew the whole time. Matt said, "I felt profound relief. My mom knew all of what I was capable of, and she loved me anyway."

Pastor Matt reminded everyone that God always calls His followers to confess the truths of their lives and the sins of their lives to Him. Just as Jesus knew even in advance that Peter would deny Him, Jesus also knows our hearts, yet he has a "love so great to hold onto you even when you lose that grip."

Jesus knows, even in advance when we will deny and even betray Him.
And, He loves us anyway.

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