Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Isaiah 53:12 (The Message)
11-12  Out of that terrible travail of soul, he'll see that it's worth it and be glad he did it. Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many "righteous ones," as he himself carries the burden of their sins. Therefore I'll reward him extravagantly— the best of everything, the highest honors— Because he looked death in the face and didn't flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep.
I love 'black' sheep.  They are actually more varied in color than just black and it's wonderful to see their wool cleaned, spun and used for making wonderful natural fiber and colored clothing.  But then there is the stigma of being a 'black sheep.'   Someone who 'sticks out.'  Someone to whom attention is drawn and perhaps not intentionally.  We've all heard about 'the black sheep in the family.'  Perhaps you were that family member.  I'm pretty sure I was.

That is why I love this scripture from Isaiah ~ it shows that Christ loved us, the black sheep, the heathen gentiles so much, that He looked death in the face AND He conquered it! AMEN?  AMEN!  Yet I must recall that He did this for the Jew first, then for the rest of us.

Thursday evening, we will be celebrating a condensed Passover Seder at our church as well as a foot washing.  I never truly understood Communion until I participated in a Passover Seder twenty years ago.  Communion merely seemed a part of the Christian tenant that we (read 'I' here) were obligated to do.  Then my heart and my eyes were opened to the symbolism that is portrayed in the Old Testament Passover.  How could I have missed this for so many years? 

As far as the foot washing, well, the church we learned the most in (read discipled instead of learned) performed a three-fold communion that included foot washing.  I've missed that portion of worship and perhaps I need to explain a bit.

In the book of John, when Jesus is having the Passover Meal with the Disciples, he washes their feet.  Peter (who's feet well fit into his own mouth) told Jesus, "No, you will not wash my feet!" as this was the lowliest of all servant's tasks.  Jesus reprimanded him lovingly by saying, "If you don't let me do this, you have nothing to do with me." (Please note: these are all my paraphrases here.) Then Jesus goes on to explain that they are 'clean' but not all clean:  They may have bathed that day, but they have walked the dusty roads in their sandals and now their feet are dirty. That is like us.  We may be 'clean' because we trust and rely upon Christ for our salvation, but we 'walk in this world' and our feet get dirty and need to be cleansed.  It is symbolic of us going to Christ daily and asking for forgiveness. Similar to the model prayer that Jesus taught the Disciples ~ 'forgive us as we forgive others...'

This most High, Holy Week, I seek His forgiveness for all my many sins, those of commission and those through omission.  If I have offended you through the words of this blog, I ask your forgiveness.  If I have offended you through my acts or actions, I ask your forgiveness. 

My prayer:
Abba, Father ~ wash my feet... cleanse me from the filth I walk through every single day.  Help me to stay on the path you have deemed I walk and to not stray from it.  In Jesus' name I pray ~AMEN!
because we're His,
Tamara