Going Deeper 03.29.2021
An excerpt from yesterday's message... 
We need to be aware of—and very wary of—two very deceptive and dangerous examples of theological fake news in our time. The first one flies in the face of what we’ve been reflecting on as part of our tradition known as the season of Lent, a lie summed up with book and phrase popular of few decades back: *“I’m okay and you’re okay.” The discipline of repentance leads us to conclude that we are in truth not okay but are to the contrary born deeply broken by sin.
But as you have heard repeatedly, that conclusion must never be the final word. This is where the second deadly deception can gain a foothold by convincing us that we are unredeemable, ugly, useless, and--worst of all--hopeless trash. Capitalizing on our ongoing struggles with sin, and sadly too often reinforced by legalistic and manipulative preaching and teaching, many are led to conclude that it must be time to believe that an angry God is close to giving up on us.
As we have focused on a lot lately, the truth is that the purpose of repentance is to prepare us to receive God’s amazing grace and to experience the healing of His profound love. Repentance leads us to cry out to Jesus, “Hosanna! Help! Save us!” And as we follow Jesus to the cross, we hear Him pray to His Abba and our Abba: “Father, forgive them!” And we come to realize it is not the nails holding Jesus to the cross, but His incredible, redeeming, transforming love for us.
I came across this recently in a daily devotional: “I’ve come to see that the call of God, the love that bids us welcome, is always a call to become the true you. Not a doormat. The true you. Not an imitation of someone else. The true you: someone made in the image of God, deserving of and receiving love. … There is a Jewish proverb, “Before every person there marches an angel proclaiming, ‘Behold, the image of God.’” ...

Lent speaks the message: I am broken.” But the Gospel has the last word. The Law says: You are terribly broken!” but the Gospel proclaims: “You are absolutely beautiful!” The Law focus on our being wounded; the Gospel on the healing of grace.

Hear those words. The Passion of the Christ occurred because your Abba Father in heaven sees beyond the sin, beyond the struggles and the weaknesses, beyond all the messes. Your Abba sees a child-- a beautiful and beloved child, a wonderfully gifted child, one who was created, and is increasingly being recreated, in His image.

In His Love,
Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington
"Gratefully Growing Servants"