Friday, March 19, 2010

Washing dishes clean. . . . . a reflection of how Jesus washes us clean as well.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9

How many times have I washed dishes during my lifetime I complained as I put my dry hands in the hot dishwater once more this morning. I wondered. . . . how many? Countless. As I washed the sink full of dirty dishes once again I reflected. Over and over I have washed dishes, cups, bowls, pans, glasses and silverware clean. Yet, I won't give up, I'll keep washing them as long as I am able.
As I scrubbed, I reflected. . . . it's kind of like Jesus washing me clean from my sins - over and over again.These dirty dishes are alot like us when we sin, I thought. Yet, He doesn't give up on us, nor will he ever. When we ask for forgiveness, he washes us clean from our shortcomings, our failures, our choices to do things we shouldn't.
And just like a dirty plate once soiled with leftover food now shines like new, so do our hearts, souls and minds. We glow when we're forgiven. It's a wonderful feeling to be forgiven, to be cleansed by the Lord.

Then, I reflected upon some of the times Jesus forgave when he was on earth.

Three come to mind at this particular Holy season. In the book of John, chapters 18 through 21, we learn of how Jesus forgave Peter, a disciple that truly loved the Lord. But he denied Him three times during Jesus' trial. Jesus forgave him and Peter later became "the rock" of the early church as Jesus Himself had proclaimed. He spread the Gospel to unforgiven sinners and later wrote 1 and 2 Peter we read in the Holy Scriptures today. How might the story have ended if Jesus had not forgiven his beloved disciple?

The second account about Jesus forgiving another is the one about the criminal on the cross. A suffering sinless Christ had mercy on a sinner who turned to Christ for forgiveness. The condemned man believed Jesus could save him. It was faith that saved this man who hung in shame beside the Son of God. And is proof that our deeds do not save us.

The third example is astounding in many ways. We read about it in Luke 23, verse 34. "Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing," Jesus said, as He hung on the cross, suffering, bleeding, feeling rejected and alone. To me, this shows how powerful and yet how kind and gentle the love and mercy of Christ really is. And to take it a step further, demonstrated His understanding of what it means to be a human being.

Upon further reflection, there is a verse familiar to many about forgiveness. In Matthew, Peter asks Jesus, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times but up to seventy times seven."

Have I washed my dishes clean seventy times seven - I am not sure. But I think what Jesus was saying was to forgive many times - too many times to count. That's how many times you forgive. Has He not done that for us?

Next time you find yourself complaining about washing dishes, think about how many times Jesus has washed your sins away and not complained. And be thankful He does!

p.s. There's one important difference to note however. Some day, we may not be able to wash dishes anymore and make them clean because of poor health. But Jesus is unchanging, remaining firm and strong for us. He is there to forgive if we confess our sins, ask for forgiveness and believe He truly can make us white as snow".

By the way, we have snow on the ground today too - that's a whole other reflection:-)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Christmas music in March

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord . And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your loving kindness in the morning and your faithfulness by night, with the ten-stringed lute and with the harp, with resounding music upon the lyre." Psalms 92: 1-3

Photo (c) 2010 Carole Amateis-Lebruska

It is March and I am listening to Christmas music:-) And it is delightful!

It all started when my daughter posted on Facebook that today is Vavaldi's birthday. I thought I would search for some of his compositions among my classical CD collection. In a set of three compact discs, there it was. . . . my long lost "Olde English Christmas" CD that I have been trying to find for years - years, I tell you! In haste, I suppose, I had placed it in the collection. I just had to listen to it - I can't wait until December!

Easter is approaching - the time when we remember what Christ accomplished for us on that old rugged cross. And a time to rejoice that He arose from death, victorious over sin and the grave! He provided a way for each of us to have eternal life if we confess our sins and accept Him as our Savior!

Listening to Christmas songs brings the beginning of the story into focus. . . . how the journey to the cross began in a manger. And somehow, as I drink in the happy melodies into my soul at this time of the year - rather than at Christmas - they seem to take on even more meaning.

As I reflect, I ask myself why. Perhaps it is because at Christmas time here on this earth the celebration of Christ's birth is not all that it should be. It is so commercialized, so full of Santa Claus and his reindeer, things to do, presents to buy, trees to decorate and etc and etc. So not focused on Christ really - except for Christmas Eve services, Biblical themed Christmas cards and nativity scenes dotting the landscape. We struggle each year to keep Christ in Christmas.

Easter has its bunnies, eggs and new born chicks signifying new life - even though some may not make the connection, it is there. Christ came to life again and gives us new life - new beginnings and a new body after death free from sin and pain.

I never thought I would hear myself say this, but as I reflect. . . . . . it is refreshing to listen to Christmas music at Easter time. It brings joy to my heart in all its fullness. Because Christ was born, lived among men, suffered and died on a cross for our sins and rose again. . . . . . . well, think about it. . . . . . . it is a great time to rejoice. Hallelujah!

Thank you Jesus. I love you dearly.

Have you ever listened to Christmas music in the spring?

Merry Easter to each of you:-)