Friday, May 30, 2008

Norah smiling through some two-year-old tears...

Sunday Morning

Do you ever remember being a kid and feeling like there were just some things you could always count on? I know for me those were things like always getting homework on long weekends, always being able to watch four episodes of Saved By the Bell after school everyday and always knowing that Dad was going to be up in the kitchen making breakfast every single morning before school… (which carried with it the bonus of knowing that on Friday we were most likely having grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast)

One of the clearest memories that I was always able to bank on was knowing that every Sunday morning I was going to sing Just As I Am at church at the close of the service when the invitation was given… We all knew it was coming, and some people even bothered to open their hymnals to that trusty ole page as if they didn’t have it memorized. It was about the closest we ever got to any kind of liturgy in the Baptist Church, and even though we all knew it was coming, I loved it. I loved hearing and singing that song because I liked the way it felt to be in church and feel accepted by Jesus just the way I was. I remember liking that Sunday morning feeling even as a really little dude standing in my pew holding that hymnal I didn’t need.

One of my favorite songs is called Sunday Morning by Sandra McCracken. It’s about a person who is utterly shocked to discover that the love of God comes all the way down into the dust and mess of our darkest moments and cleanses us, making us clean and making us feel clean. She says,

You were the first and You’ll be the last
And like cloud on the Chicago skyline, these things are past,
Just as I am You rush in without a warning,
I didn’t think that you would really want to come to this place,
And make it feel like Sunday Morning,
You make it feel like Sunday morning

One of the reasons that I love to come together with brothers and sisters to worship is to remember that because of the blood of Jesus, we are clean and forgiven… That God accepts us and loves us just as we are and that He has declared us righteous in Christ, just as righteous as Christ. That’s why we sing the songs we do… to remember that He loves us and that He paid so that we could be clean and brand new and so that we could feel clean and brand new. After King David's really big screw-up he says in Psalm 51, “Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness, let the bones you have crushed rejoice.” I have always loved the way it feels on Sunday morning because I know I’ll feel new and accepted again… “O Lamb of God I come, I come.”

So, this past weekend was our annual High School Spring Retreat with special guest stars Graham and Emily Murray. Graham brought an awesome message about the importance of weakness which was good because the only two eighth graders who went to the weekend dominated the tournament we created around this ridiculous bean-bag game...

Here's a video:

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