Torn curtain

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I suppose if one must wake up feeling utterly hopeless, it's helpful if one has already obligated oneself to lead the congregation in worship on Easter Sunday. Staying in bed and pulling the covers over one's head is not an option.

Not only my mood, but my voice was limping along as well -- Bb and up just weren't there -- but with a little help from my Friends and bit of hot coffee, the voice loosened up sufficiently.

The tonic for my mood was the service itself, which began with the congregation reciting the Nicene Creed. Here is the part that always chokes me up, whether I'm reciting it in English or singing it in Latin:

Who for us men, and for our salvation, descended from heaven.
Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de coelis.

Jesus left the glory of heaven, and did so for us and for a purpose, a purpose He accomplished on the cross. As Ron Dunton, one of our founding elders, prepared to lead us in a time of prayer, he called our attention to the banner underneath the cross at the front of the church, his voice breaking as he did. The banner is partially split in the center, starting at the top, a reminder that as Jesus died, the veil of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. No longer are sacrifices and priests required to obtain access to God, but Christ as our great High Priest, offered Himself as a sacrifice once for all, so that we might enter into God's presence:

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

We have bold and direct access -- not through a priest, not through a saint, not through any other human intermediary, but through the one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. And there does not need to be a weekly or daily sacrifice for our sins -- Christ's one sacrifice is sufficient for all the sins of all His people. (With all due respect to the followers of the Pope who are valiant allies in the fight for the sanctity of human life, I do not know how anyone who has read the Epistle to the Hebrews can buy into the Roman Church's teachings on the sacrifice of the mass.)

Pastor David O'Dowd's sermon was challenging and encouraging (as usual), and when it's online and I've heard it again, I'll write about it and provide a link to the audio.

I wish I could tell you that the afterglow of the service kept me in a good mood for the rest of the day, but it didn't. It took a CD of Charles Wesley hymns on the drive down to keep my mind off my troubles and on things above. That is the daily and hourly challenge.


Mike said:


I can only say "Amen!". Jesus left His comfortable place in glory, to come to God's (His own) creation, to suffer and die as an atonement for all the sins of mankind. Awesome, awesome God we have!

To Him be all glory, honor, praise and thanksgiving! Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 28, 2005 12:36 AM.

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