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FROM THE PULPIT

FROM THE PULPIT

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As a baseball fan, I've always wanted to attend spring training. Last year, I had the opportunity to do this while on vacation with friends.

We were staying near the New York Mets training camp, so one day, two of us headed out to a game between the Mets and the Detroit Tigers. After the game, in which each team had double-digit errors, it struck me how important it is for these professional athletes to dedicate themselves to working on the fundamentals of the game. Most professional players have been playing since Little League, yet each spring they gather in Florida and Arizona to work on the fundamentals of the game in order to perform at the highest level.

In these last three weeks, we have been hearing the call for justice in our community and in our nation. This is not the first time. What is it that prevents us from making the corrections needed so as to have a more just society? Like the baseball players at spring training, errors are going to continue to happen unless we are committed to doing the hard work that is required to get back to the fundamentals. The work we need to do is both internal and external.

Getting back to the fundamentals in our personal life is committing to a regular prayer life. It is in prayer that we are able to discern by grace our own thoughts, words and actions that sow division. It is also by grace in prayer that we can receive forgiveness and heal what is wounded in us. Externally, we get back to the fundamentals by practicing the Golden Rule, "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you." Unless we get back to the fundamentals, we are bound to repeat the errors of the past.

Leave It and Live!

On May 7, 2019, an Aeroflot plane, Flight 1492, made a crash landing in Moscow that killed 41 of the passengers onboard. As more information about the crash came out over the next several days, some very disturbing news was brought to light. According to a USA Today article, "Reports from people on the plane indicate the evacuation may have been slowed by passengers grabbing their bags." Videos show passengers taking their carry-on bags with them as they exited the plane. The Association of Flight Attendants said during a tribute service they held mourning the loss of the flight attendant onboard who was also killed, "We will never know if more lives could have been saved if the bags were left behind."

As I continued reading articles about the crash of Flight 1492, I was surprised to learn that people risking not only their own lives but the lives of others in a desperate attempt to save their belongings after a plane crash is not a new issue. We would all like to think we would leave any material possession behind to burn without a moment's hesitation, especially if our life was at risk. But to deny that we share in the same temptation is to have already put ourselves at risk.

Watching video footage of those passengers making an emergency exit, fleeing for their lives with carry-ons in hand, is a graphic illustration of Jesus' warning in Luke 12 when He says, "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

As many of us have been reminded of in vivid ways over the past several months, as so much of what we take for granted has been so swiftly taken away, we would do well to let it stand as a reminder that there is nothing in this life that will endure forever and we can take nothing with us after we die. Everything expires, everything dies. There is only one thing that lasts forever. Only one thing worth dying for and leaving everything else behind for. That is our relationship with Jesus Christ, who died and rose again so that the true longing of our hearts and desires would be satisfied. Only the love and forgiveness and provision of God found in His Son Jesus gives us all that we need, even when we have nothing in this life.

The Good News of the Gospel is that God has already given us the wealth of heaven and the promise of eternity with Him by grace through faith in Jesus. God, His love and His Word is all that will endure to the end and into life after death.

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