There are many churches. There are many things to do in these churches. Some carefully market to you. They have coffee shops and bookstores. You can pick up the Pastor’s latest book. They have comfy seats, and big crowds. Everything you want. But sometimes this careful marketing blitz misses a big point. Christianity is not about what you want it’s about what you need.
Christianity is about Jesus, the Son of God, and what He did. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7) If you seek the face of God, look to Jesus. If you look for truth, look to Jesus. If you look for life look to Jesus.
Jesus’ Church looks to Him and His incredible sacrificial gift. He laid down His life so that you could be saved. Jesus’ cross is a reminder of this in every church. The season of Lent is about the cross, and the sacrifice.
We remember what He has done for us. We remember the price paid to free us from sin. We remember the cross. We remember that is what we are baptized into. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:3-5)
As we have been buried with Jesus we will rise as surely as He rose. We will live as surely as He lives. Knowing that we are Jesus’ children and knowing that He has paid the price of our sin, we hoist up our own cross. “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
We are set free by Jesus” death on the cross. We are free to follow Him. Free to forgive, free to bring peace, free to care for our neighbor. We will not have to bear the punishment for our sin. Jesus has done that on a cross. With joy we follow Him.
You may not be in a church that has a coffee shop. You may not be in a church that has a bookstore. Your Pastor may have never written a bestseller. You may have simple pews of wood, and not comfy stadium seating. But none of those things is necessary. What is necessary? Look to the cross. Know that your salvation is won. Rejoice. Pick up your cross. Love God and your neighbor. You have what you need. Amen.