Last Sunday, the topic in one of the classes was the Atonement. The instructor shared this story...
He's preparing for a Tough Mudder race. He hasn't exercised much in the past and he's started lifting weights. He talked about how sometimes, when you're lifting weights, you have a spotter. The spotter, on that last set when you just can't quite lift the bar all the way to the top, sticks out his finger and gives just an ever-so-slight nudge to the bar to help you get the bar to the top.
The Atonement is, he related, like this example of lifting weights. You struggle to overcome sin and become perfect and grace is that little extra nudge that bridges the gap between your effort and perfection.
Hence the title of this post, "just a little Christian."
I think, with this attitude, you don't need Christ all that much. After all, you're almost perfect doing it on your own and he's just helping a little.
For the record, I didn't just sit there. After he paused, I raised my hand and said, "I think maybe it's the other way around. The atonement and grace are really all the heavy lifting and our effort is the ever-so-slight nudge to the bar. After all, as I recall, it was Christ who sweated blood. I don't recall ever working that hard."
The instructor did agree that I have a point.
So, maybe we're sometimes just a little bit Christian.
I was asked, this past Sunday, to give the benediction on the main service this coming Sunday - Easter Sunday. The more I think about it, the more I wish I didn't know in advance. It's easier to give a prayer without warning. You just say the usual stuff. With time to think about it, I'm worried I might decide to say something more, well, controversial. Could you imagine what would happen if I were to say something like:
"Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to meet on this holy day. Perhaps more than any other day of the year, we direct our thanks to the for the gift and sacrifice of your son, Jesus Christ. We're so thankful for his sacrifice. Thank you. Now, that said, we're in serious need of help. We've, for the most part, rejected many of your commandments. We don't treat each other all that well. We're supposed to proclaim peace, but somehow we've become a warlike people. I could go on and on. We need help. Would you please help us to wake up to our precarious situation? Would you give us the strength to admit where we're wrong and make changes? Please forgive us! In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
I don't know. Somehow, I don't think that'd go over well. We don't do well at calling out our unworthiness.
Anyway, to anyone reading this, I wish you a most joyful Easter. Peace.