It was “Bring a Friend Sunday” at my church today. The Lord gave me strength to get up and pick up three of my friends. My sister joined us as well. It was a gorgeous sunny day. The sort of day I imagine the Psalmist faced as he rejoiced, “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Announcements were given of all the Lord is doing through our faith community. The Psalms spoken and sung called us to worship. Scripture shared the promise of new life for all who are born again in the Spirit of Christ. Prayers were offered praising God for faithful friends and loving family, calling on God to heal the hurting, guide the lost, save the fallen. Then Pastor Andy read the focus text, Zechariah 3:1-10, which begins with a prophetic vision:
3:1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?”
The message that ensued was a clarion call for all to believe and receive the Good News of Christ. Christ, as the angel of the Lord, serves as the Judge who hears Satan’s accusations against the people of God. The Lord then rebukes the Accuser, declaring that the people have been “plucked from the fire,” not through any goodness of our own, but by the great mercy of the Lord.
I once heard a preacher say, “The greatest power Satan has is the power of suggestion.” Throughout Scripture, our Enemy tries his best to get us to doubt God’s love for us. Does God really want what is best for you? Why would God let such horrible things happen to you? How could God stand by while you suffer so?
Perhaps the most vile doubt the Accuser plants in our minds is that we are not worthy of Christ’s saving love. Oddly enough, on this point he is correct. Sort of. We are not worthy on our own. We can’t save ourselves through anything we do or avoid doing. But,… the Good News is that while we are not worthy — while we are yet sinners, Christ died for us and gives us abundant life forever. While we stand accused for our sins, Christ has us covered. Praise God!
After we were fed with the Word, our bodies were fed in a wonderful meal prepared by some families of the church. We enjoyed conversation around the table. One shared about growing up in foster care. Another talked about borderline diabetes. One offered more coffee to us. Another asked me if I am the gifted athlete in the congregation (I am not.)
After we had eaten, we were invited to stand and share our names and something about ourselves. One thing about my church is the people do not miss an opportunity to share the Good News of God’s love in our Savior Jesus Christ reaching us…
…. on a cross-country move with no promise of work, no community connections, only a vague sense of direction that became a faith journey to a place to call home.
… in a growing love for the Gospel shared among those who have a God-size hole in their hearts that won’t be filled with any substance, behavior, or human relationship.
… during a time of agonizing grief over the death of a loved one, desperate for answers to demanding questions.
… within families who nurture us in faith and love and prepare us for what is often a cold, cruel world.
… in the midst of a tsunami of broken relationships and failed human hopes, turning our lives upside down and spewing us into unfamiliar lands with no sense of peace.
Driving home with my friends, the sun was still bright in the sky. I smiled and said, as much to myself and my friends, “You’d have to try very hard to be depressed on a day like this.” The Lord’s Day. A day to bring a friend into the fellowship of faith to taste and see that the Lord is good.