THINGS WE CANNOT DO
In St. Matthew’s account of Holy Week there are four events which do not appear in the other Gospels. They are: the remorse and suicide of Judas, the message to Pilate from his wife, Pilate washing his hands, and the opening of tombs as a result of an earthquake. Why did Matthew include these particular details? Possibly because in them we see four things we cannot do.
First, we cannot atone for our sins. Judas did indeed feel remorse for his betrayal. He knew he deserved punishment, but he was not repentant. Instead of calling upon God for mercy, what did he do? He tried to undo what he had done by returning the money. When that did not work Judas killed himself. He decided to inflict punishment upon himself. It was a vain attempt to pay for his own sins. It was not unusual in Roman society for one to take his own life if disgraced, similar to the oriental practice of saving face. Such a suicide is the supreme act of pride, because it says, I can pay for my own sins and do not need the atonement accomplished by Jesus Christ. The case of Judas was of course extreme, but the attitude that one can somehow make up for his sins and dispense with Christ is common. What needs to die in us is our pride so that we may humbly receive the gift of salvation procured by Christ on the cross.
Secondly, we cannot plead ignorance. Pilate’s wife told him to have nothing to do with the trial of this godly man. He himself admitted before the crowd that he had found Jesus guilty of nothing. Pilate knew the truth, even though he tried to evade it, for the Truth was standing before him. None of us can plead ignorance. In Romans 1:18-21 St. Paul affirmed that every person has knowledge of God. Some of course have more knowledge than others. However, it is not how much we know, but what we do with what knowledge we have. It is on the basis of that knowledge we will be judged. Like Pilate we are all without excuse and cannot plead ignorance.
Thirdly, we cannot blame someone else. When finally Pilate gave in to the mob and condemned to death a man he had declared innocent, he washed his hands. In washing his hands Pilate was saying, it’s not my fault, someone else is to blame. Judas tried to escape guilt by paying for his own sins in his death, Pilate attempted to escape his guilt by transferring it to the crowd. Blame shifting is an old tactic. It was used by Eve, who blamed the serpent. It was used by Adam, who blamed Eve and her Creator. Blame shifting is the hallmark of the fallen nature. Today we blame society, environment, lack of education, parents, poverty or even our genes. It is all the same old game, which started with Adam and Eve. The amazing thing about Christ is that He really was willing to take our blame, to have our guilt transferred to Himself. Instead of mere blame shifting we need to accept Christ as our substitute and Savior through faith.
Finally, we cannot claim that God has not spoken. At Christ’s death there was a great earthquake. This should not be surprising for God is the creator and controller of nature. We are also told by Matthew that many saints were raised and appeared to the people. Over the centuries God spoke through His prophets and apostles and we have the record of that revelation in the Scriptures. And through the Holy Spirit God continues to speak to human hearts. The real question is, are we listening? If we listen we will hear the voice of a God who loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die for our sins and to give us life through His resurrection.
by Rev. F. M. Levi
Missionary of The Month
Rt. Rev. & Mrs. Gerhard Meyer (Grace). Schwarzenborn, Germany.
Lenten Soup Supper/Evening Service-April 1, 2009
Soup Supper - 6:30 p.m.
Evening Service – 7:30 p.m.
Throughout the weeks of Lent we met to worship our Lord and to share in a fellowship meal. We thank those who hosted the soup suppers and all who attended on Wednesday nights.
Discipleship Class to Resume
The Wednesday night Discipleship Class will start meeting again April 22, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. We will be studying the book, The Way, The Truth and The Life. This book has been assigned for study in all of the parishes of the Anglican Church in North America. Do plan to attend.
Grant Chessman (81) went to be with the Lord on Saturday, March 7, 2009. Grant had been very active at St. Andrew’s for many years; serving as Senior Warden, Chairman of the Preschool Board, Sunday School Superintendent. He is survived by his wife Fran and four daughters and one son, along with 11 grandchildren. Our prayers are with Fran and the whole family.
Continental Breakfast – 9:30 a.m. downstairs in the Parish Hall.
Holy Communion – 10:30 a.m.
Mother/Daughter Salad Supper
April 25, 2009, 5:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall.
Drop off items during the week of May 25th, between 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. or call (708) 614-7404.
Vacation Bible School, June 22-26th, 9:00 a.m.- 12:00 noon. Ages 4yrs to 6th Grade.
April 5 – Beth Garrison
April 6 – Cheryl Novak
April 7 – Amelia Jean Sellers
April 10 – Danny Rago
April 18 – Kim Woodard
April 21 – Mark Levi
April 28 – Logan Sellers
“Because He Lives …We Too Shall Live”
by Helen Steiner Rice
In this restless world of struggle
It is very hard to find
Answers to the questions
That daily come to mind -
We cannot see the future,
What’s beyond is still unknown,
For the secret of God’s Kingdom
Still belongs to Him alone -
But He granted us salvation
When His Son was crucified,
For life became immortal
Because our Saviour died