He was reviled.

Senior Pastor Marcus Mackay23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.   1 Peter 2:23

Behold the man!  I pray that our Lenten devotions have been a blessing to you and your family as we have begun our 40 day journey (not counting Sundays, where we breakfast (break the fast) and receive what we poor sinners truly do not deserve in our Lord’s Body and Blood: forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. 

“Lent” literally means “spring”, derived from an Old English word.  This is somewhat fitting, as this penitential season generally takes place in the Spring of the new year (but how well we know that it seems more like the latter part of winter) 🙂   This is especially true with an early date of Easter, which is always celebrated in the Spring.   Regardless, Spring presents us with new life, growth and a changing of habits. 

And think of the habits that need changing!  Lent is thus a penitential season, a time of repentance, a turning away from sin which clings so closely . . . a changing of habits!

There needs to be a changing of habits in the Mackay household, how about yours?  My wife and I have noticed an increase of “reviling” amongst our boys.  Revile means to criticize in an abusive or angrily insulting manner (dictionary.com).  We have noticed that they often speak in such a way to each other and we have taken steps to change these bad habits!  Sure, boys will be boys and a competitive nature and even good natured ribbing and such is part of growing and finding one’s way in the world.  But how quickly it can turn to reviling! 

Think of what we hear and read on social media, the news networks, TV and streaming programs!  Reviling of our elected authorities, celebrities, parents and friends.  I would humbly submit to you that this is a very specific area in which the devil, the world and our sinful nature is currently attacking. 

Paul warns the Thessalonian Christians about this: 

9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.
11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Encourage one another.  Build one another up.  

This should also remind you of the Eighth Commandment and Luther’s apropos explanation:   

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.

We sin daily and sin much when we revile others.  We tell ourselves that because it is true, it is perfectly right to tell others our thoughts and opinions!  This is sin.  God calls us to protect our neighbor’s reputation!  To speak well of them! To defend them in every possible way! 

As Christians, we are called to be in the world but not of the world.  We are called out of darkness and into the glorious light of Christ.   Yes, let us debate and speak the truth, but let us be mindful of God’s command to respect our fellow man and his or her reputation.  Let us learn how to be winsome and even silent.  I can still hear my grandmother admonishing me:  “if you don’t have anything nice to say . . . zip it.” 

So let us repent.  Let us change our habits and become mindful of what we say and how we say it.  Let us look to Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith.

He did not revile.  He did not threaten.  He entrusted His entire body and soul . . . His reputation . . . into His Father’s hands.  In doing so, He mercifully earned forgiveness for us poor gossiping and reviling sinners.  Christ your Savior was reviled . . . for you.  Behold the Man!

Repenting and changing habits with you, 

Jesu Juva (Jesus help), 

Pastor Mackay


Our Lenten Challenge: To Spit Out the Seeds

Pastor John W. Fiene
Since Lent has arrived it seems appropriate for me to make a confession: When I was about 12 years old I was hired as a baby sitter. The kids liked me because I played with them and read them books. Before leaving the parents told me that I could eat anything in the refrigerator (which was cool because my parents would not have given me the same privilege). There was a half-watermelon in that refrigerator. I would have sliced off a piece and tried to eat it had it not been for the fact that I had to deal with all those seeds, so in my infinite wisdom I dug out the center of the watermelon, made a plug and gently placed it back into the hole so that the watermelon looked untouched. For some strange reason I was never asked to babysit again, but I do remember how sweet that core was when I ate it. To put your mind at ease, I felt very bad about eating that core, but I can assure you, the core is always the best part.
Our midweek Lenten worship this year is about the best part of our Christian watermelon—the core. In this case, however, we don’t have to feel guilty about consuming it. The core of Christianity are the “solas” of the Christian faith: Christ alone. Scripture alone. Grace alone. Faith alone. The Word alone. God’s glory alone.  Always Alone = without seeds.
Consider how we use that word “core” today. Core values. Core muscles. Core arguments. Core curriculum. Cores of cities, magnets, computers and nuclear plants. By definition, a core is the foundation, the part of a thing that does not change, the part of the whole that is pure and without seeds. Seeds are our entertainments, our possessions, the things we do for ourselves. Seeds are human thoughts, human actions, human accomplishments. Honestly, even God spits them out because they have no worth to Him. But He wants us to spit them out as well, if and when they get mixed into our spiritual food.
The core is seedless and it is pure. It is Christ alone as our Savior. It is Holy Spirit alone speaking pure truth in Holy Scripture. It is forgiveness, pardon, heaven, undeserved gifts of God given through Grace alone. It is faith receiving all that God has to give because it trusts in God ‘s Grace alone without any merit or worthiness on our part. It is through the power of the Word alone we receive sacramental cleansing. And it is to God alone that we give our thanks and praise for all these “alones.”
What then is our Lenten challenge? To spit out the seeds and stick to the core!

Pastor Fiene