The Essence of Sacrifice

There it is in the end zone of football games, and crowds everywhere – “John 3:16,” for God so loved the world … Do we glorify God for leading Jesus to a terrible death? Do we glorify Jesus for a grisly end? This verse, while the core of faith for many, has been read in a negative, mistaken way which glamorizes martyrdom. Jesus’ great gift was his life. Of course, history is full of accidental and intentional martyrs, but is death itself the great sacrifice? Or is it the way one lives? The unique way of sharing your compassion and presence, your particular goodness, with others?

The word “sacrifice” means to “make holy;” to give a holy gift. It is living, not dying, that creates a holy gift of self, especially when that living is against great odds – opposition, danger, criticism, illness, hunger and thirst. Sacrifice does not always mean pain, deprivation, and dying. True, sacrifice is not always easy, but the single most important thing to notice about John 3:16 is that God deeply loved the world God created, and longs for creation to thrive.  God loved by the gift of Jesus, as well as other holy prophets and teachers. The gift of Jesus set in motion real consequences for humankind.  God loves by the gift of youinto the world, also setting in motion real consequences. You are that important. This is not a disinterested act on God’s part. That was Jesus’ message. I’m here because the God who loved you of old, still does. I’ll show you, tell you, teach you.

Give of yourself; you are a great gift — Pastor Carol

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