Preparing for Worship: Rise & Walk

Preparing for Worship: Rise & Walk

John Haralson   •   May 19, 2017

Glory glory, hallelujah
Since I laid my burden down 
I feel better, so much better
Since I laid my burden down.
Mississippi John Hurt, Since I’ve Laid My Burden Down

Dear Friends,

When many of us think of the Biblical concept of sin, we can dwell primarily or even exclusively in terms of breaking rules. Sin, we think, only involves crossing over a boundary that we were not supposed to cross. Though sin does involve breaking the good boundaries God has established (i.e., breaking the rules), the Bible gives us a much more robust understanding of the nature of our sin.

Last week, we saw how Luke likened sin to leprosy. In this way, sin is like an infectious disease that pollutes and contaminates everything it touches. And, the good news of the gospel is that Jesus came into the world to take upon himself our sin. To paraphrase Isaiah, Jesus came to bear our diseases, the chief of which is our sin.

This week, we will explore the story about several men who had brought a paralyzed man to Jesus, believing that Jesus would be able to heal him. Upon seeing the man and his friends (and their faith), Jesus said to the man:

          Friend, your sins are forgiven.

In this account, Jesus connects sin and paralysis. 

One of the things that sin can do is immobilize us. It can prevent us from joyfully communing with God, with the result that our days are filled with a spiritual vacancy and lethargy. Sin can also prevent us from loving others by sapping our energy. Instead of loving and serving those around us, we can pour our energies into sin that effectively saps and drains our strength.

So, in many ways, we find ourselves in a similar condition as this paralyzed man. We are unable to do the things we want to do, we are unable to freely commune with God and others, and a big part of this has to do with our sin

Into our situation, Jesus speaks these life-giving words:

          Friend, your sins are forgiven.

Jesus, through his grace and atoning work, lifts the burden of our sins from us. His forgiveness liberates us from the weight of our guilt and shame, freeing us to once again walk with him and others.  

This week: Rise and Walk, Luke 5:17-26.

Liturgy is here

I hope to worship with you.

Warmly in Christ,

John

PS Don’t forget that a group from Grace is going to worship with First AME Church this Sunday. The group will meet at 10:30am this Sunday and go over together.