S (Scripture): Romans 16:17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep an eye on those who cause dissensions and offenses, in opposition to the teaching that you have learned; avoid them. 18 For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded. 19 For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I want you to be wise in what is good and guileless in what is evil.
O (Observation): Paul gives a final word to his followers. He wants them not resort to the tactics used by the world around them. Instead they are to lead with innocence and love. Anything other than this is tainted with selfish appetite and deception.
A (Application): Today, April 13, is Maundy Thursday. In worship, we will read the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet and instituting The Great Thanksgiving. These are ways of innocence and love.
In our congregation, we will also receive absolution, which is the forgiveness of sins with the marking of a cross (of scented oil) made on the forehead of those receiving this forgiveness. The cross on the forehead is a physical reminder of the cross received on the person’s forehead in their baptism.
Jesus did not act against his betrayer. He let him go to accomplish what he must. And Jesus was arrested and died, but that was not the end of the story. Jesus did not let selfish thoughts or ambition cloud his way. He was redeemed.
We are redeemed in the fact that God loves us and sent Jesus to embody wholeness and goodness and what it means to be without guile.
May you remember this day as the beginning of The Great Three Days, the beginning of the end of Jesus’ life…leading to his Passion…and the ultimate celebration of his Resurrection!
If you live near Murfreesboro, TN, consider joining us for worship this week:
Advent Lutheran Church, 1700 Irby Lane, Murfreesboro, TN 37127
Maundy Thursday, April 13, Noon & 7pm
Good Friday, April 14, Noon & 7pm
The Vigil of Easter, April 15, 7pm
The Resurrection of our Lord, April 16, 6:30am, 8:45am, 10:45am. (Easter breakfast served, $5/person; proceeds to help fund our youth ministry).
P (Prayer): Lord, help us to be humble. Amen.