Loving God, we come to this sacred time and
space today carrying hard and heavy burdens.
Burdens of grief and loneliness, of depression and anxiety.
Burdens of exhaustion, stress, and overwork.
But we have good news!
Your ways are not the ways of this world, and
what we assume are weaknesses are actually
the places where we find strength, fortitude, and hope.
Allow us the space this morning to embrace
our vulnerabilities, and to treat ourselves
with love and kindness, as we grow into
the people you created us to be.
We gather now and pray
in the name of God, our Creator,
Jesus, our loving Savior,
and the Holy Spirit, the Breath of Life.
We invite you to hear from the Gospel of John 3: 14-21.
14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes
in him may have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but
may have eternal life. 17 “Indeed, God did not send the
Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that
the world might be saved through him.
18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those
who do not believe are condemned already, because they
have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into
the world, and people loved darkness rather than light
because their deeds were evil.
20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to
the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But
those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may
be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”
The Good News of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
The grass withers and the flower fades,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.
Sermon and Reflection
Is Jesus’ death really a sacrifice?
How did Jesus’ death undo our whole world of judgment and condemnation built on sacrifice?
The little word “so” in the most famous verse in the Bible has two possible meanings. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son”. Or “For God loved the world in this way: that he gave his only Son”. Which do you think John meant, and why?
Vox family, you come here to experience
God’s complete and perfect grace. It’s yours.
It’s truly yours. You are loved, and you are liked.
God is turning an upside-down
world right-side up. Because of
this grace, we have a role to play
in that turning. May this grace be
a catalyst that lights a fire in you.
Watch the old burn away.
Take that grace with you.
See something new. Take it to your jobs,
your schools, your neighborhoods, and
your homes. Let us fill our beloved city
with this transformative grace.
In the name of God, the Creator,
Christ, the Risen One,
and the Holy Spirit, our Breath of Life.
Go now, and live the church.
See you throughout the week.
[Photo by Sixteen Miles Out]