Sorry Not Sorry

On Monday, Ruth wrote about saying #sorrynotsorry and showing off your love, despite looking like an odd man out.

Her message reminded me of the story of Daniel (I know – a classic). While my interpretation here is not unique, I always think it’s inspiring to read the stories of people who lived their faith despite immeasurable odds. Daniel provides many examples. SO, as a refresher, here’s the knock-off spark notes versions:

  • First, Daniel and his buds get drafted into the king’s army and ordered to eat a bunch of junk food and have allll the booze. Daniel was like “Nah, fam that’s not what God would want” so he and his friend’s found a loophole. God gave them crazy cool skills and they were stronger than all the other people. God:1 King:0 (Daniel 1)
  • Later, the king made a golden statue of himself and people were supposed to bow down and worship it (real humble guy) and Daniel’s besties was like “yeah, no #sorrynotsorry” and even though they all had super high positions, they still got thrown into a furnace where they were supposed to die but God saved them and the king worshipped God. God: 2 King: 0 (Daniel 3)
  • A little bit later, after Daniel had gotten another promotion, a bunch of his coworkers got jealous and convinced the king to make it illegal to pray to anything other than the king. Again, Daniel was like #sorrynotsorry and so they threw him into a lion’s den. He lived because God was on his side and the king was like “whoa hey that God is legit.” God: 3 King: 0 (Daniel 6)

Now, if you were raised in a church, these stories probably seem pretty familiar. But, for me, every time I hear them I am reminded to ask myself how can I be like Daniel today? What should I say #sorrynotsorry to? Participating in the latest gossip sesh? Turning in only mediocre work? Ignoring my friend who asked for a ride? How will my witness benefit (or be hurt) by what I am about to do? 

When we listen closely to God and say #sorrynotsorry to things of this world, we grow closer to God as disciples and servants, all the while, allowing our hearts to be shaped more in his image.

 

Sorry Not Sorry

by Ruth Hallstead

During the Good Friday service at First UMC, the pastor approached the message as though he were speaking directly to God. He took the words “Father forgive them” and turned it into a question. He questioned why Jesus would let them go without punishment. Halfway through though, he switched gears from “how could you forgive them?” to “Oh no, I am them”. As he discussed this, he spoke about denying Jesus, being ashamed of your faith, and being Peter before the cock crowed. This really resonated with me. I am not ashamed of my faith, yet I don’t always show that. I have to send a weekly report to one of my advisers, and I always say something like have a good weekend, or enjoy the sunshine or something so that it isn’t just a blank email with an attachment. This week when I sent it I paused though. My instinct was to say Happy Easter… after all, the Lord was about to rise!! But I still hesitated before writing Happy Easter. Yesterday was exciting: Jesus rose! We cannot stay quiet about that, if we truly embrace what just happened. Not only did a dead man rise from the grave after three days of being dead, but that man rose to save us even after we denied, beat and betrayed Him and then killed Him in the worst possible way (essentially slow suffocation)! What?! And guess what, He’s stayin’ risen! While as Wade so eloquently put it, we shouldn’t be those weird Christians, we’re always going to be a little odd (if we follow the guy who ate with sinners, cleaned a blind guy’s eyes out with mud, and forgave men who crucified Him for being different). So someone might be a tad bit uncomfortable if you tell them Happy Easter, or they might think differently about you if you say no to something because it conflicts with your Bible study, and maybe they will laugh at your invitation to the Rising. Tell them anyway. Invite them anyway. Laugh with them. Because, Sorry, we’re not sorry for rejoicing in the joy of the Lord. Christ the Lord is risen today, and every day after…join me in singing Alleluia!

Carry on My Wayward Son

by Paul Selden

Throughout this week, we have reflected upon different days and aspects of Holy Week as we remember Jesus’s journey to the cross.  Today is Good Friday, or the day that Jesus was crucified and died for our sins.  This ultimate sacrifice signified that there is nothing that can stop us from turning to God and receiving his love, not the mistakes we have made, not the condemnation of the law, not even the denial and betrayal of Jesus.  Despite this, Good Friday is a solemn time, and represents a day where hope is all but lost and the sins of ourselves might settle as death seems ultimate.  Even Peter, the rock which the church was built on, struggled with this as he denied Jesus three separate occasions that morning. Only when the rooster crowed the third time did he realize his mistake.
“Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think I still was a mad man”
I cannot help but think that Peter struggled with this same difficulty.  Although he could function like any other person on this day and pretend not to be associated Christ, he did not see what he was doing: he was a blind man.  During this time, though Peter could think logically and do what he could in order to possible protect himself, he was not thinking clearly: he was a mad man.  Fundamentally, without Christ, we are lost.  But, with this sacrifice and ultimate resurrection, we are assured that we are not lost from God.
“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split”
This veil being torn fulfills Jesus’s purpose: there is no law to separate us from God, no religious hierarchy blocking us from God, and finally, with the Cross, no sin too great to divide us from God.  Though this is the darkest day, there is still every bit of hope in the sacrifice of Jesus.  So, don’t you cry no more *guitar solo*.

Carry on My Wayward Son

by Hannah Alford

 

On Monday, Ruth began to touch on just what Holy Week is and more specifically, what Wednesday represents. Wednesday presents us with a time of intentional prayer and reflection in preparation for Maundy Thursday. So what does this have to do with with “Carry on my Wayward Son?” Well I’m so glad you asked (even if you didn’t bear with me)!

“Carry on my Wayward Son,

They’ll be peace when you are done

Lay your weary head to rest

Don’t you cry no more…”

When Jesus went out into the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed, and in this intense reflection, he wept. Crucifixion was one of the most painful deaths you could have, saved only for those who were torturous or wicked, and Jesus knew this so rightfully he was afraid. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?” Psalm 22:1. But even in this time, God was with Jesus and gave him the strength to die knowing all of the lives he’d save through his sacrifice. There are two ways you can look at the chorus of “Carry on my Wayward Son” either it is God speaking to Jesus, comforting him in his time of fear; or it is a comfort to you and me. No matter what happens on earth there is always a light, or peace coming your way. So carry on, because the worst thing is never the last thing, and with God behind you, nothing can come close to the good you will do in the world!

Carry on My Wayward Son

by Ruth Hallstead

If you went to church yesterday, you probably heard and sang some Hosannas, watched kids wave palm branches, and got swept up in the excitement of Jesus’ arrival and grand entrance. The hymns were joyful, and outfits were bright and happy. It’s like a mini Easter! How neat is it that we get two joy-filled Sundays in a row? Well, kind of. It’s easy to treat this week like any other week, or even think “Holy cow, there is too much church this week” (you could go to a Wesley affiliated service every day except Saturday). That’s not why it’s called Holy Week though… Now is the time to understand how we get from “Hosanna!” to “Crucify him!” Here’s a quick rundown of what Holy Week is all about. Yesterday, we rejoiced and waved palm branches to welcome Jesus into town. Wednesday is often a day for preparation through intentional prayer and reflection. Maundy Thursday, we remember Jesus’ last night with His disciples through communion and foot washing–a bittersweet night filled with love, sacrifice, and sorrow. Good Friday will seem like anything but good as we follow Jesus through His arrest, trial, and death. It can be tempting to skip the emotional roller coaster between Palm Sunday and Easter; to forget about the pain and sorrow that Jesus went through, to ignore what was required of one man to save all of mankind, to take the easy way out and simply rejoice on Sunday with everybody else. Resist that temptation. Without Friday especially, we can’t have Sunday. There can be no joy in resurrection without death first. It may be tough to make time to go to church when you know you’ll have to face the fact that Jesus died because of us and by our hands. Your week will probably be busy enough without “extra” church, especially some that reminds you how broken humans are and the pain we so often cause others. But do it anyway, because Jesus didn’t only die because of us, He died for us. Remember. Reflect. And then, rejoice in the celebration of the greatest April Fool’s trick of all time.

Activities Cancelled Due to Weather on 3/19

Due to the threat of severe weather and in keeping with our policy of following the university’s lead, all activities including Monday night prayer are cancelled today, March 19. Additionally, the Wesley building will close at 6:30pm.