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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

03042015 Wednesday of Lent 2 - Red Bead

Sermon Audio

March 4, 2015
The Blood sets us free

Gracious Heavenly Father, we know we have no strength in and of ourselves.  But You have sent your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ to not only defend us, but die in order to set us free.  Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself and His innocent blood in order that we might be set free.  May we not only see this gift, but hear the message represented by His blood and receive the freedom offered for each of us.  For our Lenten Journey is not complete without a simple red bead on the salvation bracelet offered by Jesus Christ for all of mankind, but especially each of us gathered here this Wednesday of Lent.  AMEN.

In the gardens of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, there is a plant grown named “Love Lies Bleeding” that was originally misunderstood.  As most of the early settlers understood, they needed to be self-sufficient, so they used plants that had medicinal purposes.  One plant, “Love Lies Bleeding”, with red foliage and red berries would be used to treat many of the common diseases of the day, including, kidney ailments, sores on the body and even could be made into a drink for ease of consumption and use.  The drink when complete was red and it was believed by the native Americans that this was in fact people’s blood.  Hence when communion services of the church were celebrated, the same understanding of blood of humans was mistakenly understood.

Tonight, our focus is upon a red bead.  Unlike the Native Americans understanding of the drink made from the red berries of a plant.  What we partake of in Holy Communion is Jesus Christ Blood, shed for us for the forgiveness of sins.  Paul in Romans 5:8 says it plainly, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  We have through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ His willingness to die for each and every one of us.  Jesus Christ willingness was not only to die, but shed His blood as a ransom for us and all of mankind.

The salvation story as told by the salvation bracelet with the red bead is for each of us to be reminded of our familiar connection with Jesus Christ.  Our connection is not tangential, but deep and intimate.  Jesus Christ Blood represented by this red bead is to remind us what Jesus Christ shed for us.  The movie “Passion of the Christ” is very graphic, some people don’t want to watch the movie because of the amount of blood and violence.  But it was by and through Jesus Christ very blood, shed in the soldiers quarters, the Praetorium, along the way to Golgotha and especially on the Cross that we not only see God’s demonstration of His love for us, but to the degree Jesus Christ was willing to sacrifice Himself.

When we wear the salvation bracelet and look at the red bead it is not only to be a reminder of Jesus on Good Friday, but to point us to the altar.  For it is around and from the altar here in the church or wherever Holy Communion is celebrated that we are not only reminded, but called on to remember Jesus Christ sacrifice.  Jesus Christ willingness to have a thorny crown placed on His forehead that pricked His brow, the nails hammered through His Hands and Feet, and especially the spear that pierced His side and the subsequent gush of blood and water all point to one thing.  Jesus Christ offer to all of mankind of the forgiveness of sins.  It is in and through Jesus Christ offer of His Blood that we receive life and salvation.

For Jesus Christ offer of His innocent blood gives us the forgiveness we so desperately need.  This is why Paul said, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Jesus Christ was willing to shed His Blood in order that we may be set free.

In the Gospel of John, John writes, (15:13) “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  And this is exactly what Jesus Christ did for us, lay down His life, shed His innocent blood and make the ultimate sacrifice for all of mankind, including each and every one of us.  When we hold the red bead as we tell the story of salvation, we are reminded not only of His sacrifice, but Jesus Christ willingness to die in order that we might be free.  Our freedom comes at a cost, the cost of Jesus Christ innocent Blood represented by this red bead on the salvation bracelet that tells the greatest story of forgiveness for each and every one of us found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ for all of mankind.  And this includes each of us gathered here tonight who believe, Jesus Christ died for each and every one of us.  AMEN.

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