First, a confession. I have been planning to write my first blog entry for more than two weeks. I have thought of and forgotten at least five topics. Each time I thought of one, I thought "well, do I really want that to be my first entry?" How does one begin a blog well, anyway? This was not covered in my High School writing classes of the late 1980s.
So, after two weeks, I have given up the idea of thinking of a good first entry, and I am going to simply begin. Since it is Sunday night, and I am a preacher, I will begin with what I know- reflections upon my sermon from this morning. I have to do such reflections immediately, or too many of my thoughts are lost. Unless God works in a particularly spectacular way, I cannot remember a sermon very well past a week at most, with perhaps a few memories left after a few weeks. (This is one good reason for multi-media preaching we have begun at Jacob's Well. Straight preaching with no visuals is one of the weakest forms of communication.)
The story at the beginning of Acts 3 led me to think about sacrifice. Peter and John were on their way to daily prayer. Daily prayer was a sacrifice on two levels- it was daily, and in Peter's time, it meant bringing a physical sacrifice of grain, animal, etc. Peter and John were already living a life of sacrifice by sharing all things in common with the community of believers. It was in the context of a life of sacrifice that Peter responded to the lame beggar "I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk."
Could it be that a life of sacrifice is what gave Peter the power and authority to say these words and see the man indeed stand up and walk?
I thought about the things that are familiar sacrifices from our perspective. I asked this question of Town Point and Trinity folks: what are some examples of things that people make sacrifices for? The answers included children, caring for parents, careers, training for competition, cars, houses, church, God.
My daughter turned 4 today. Four years ago at 4:40 a.m. God brought my beautiful, perfect daughter into the world. This morning, she said to me "do you love me more today Mommy?" I told her that I love her more every day.
For me, our relationship involves some sacrifices. This is part of what it is to be a parent. Mostly, I make them gladly. Usually, sacrifice has the effect of drawing us closer. The more sacrifices I make for my children, the more deeply connected to them I feel. I love them more every day.
I now have more appreciation for the importance of sacrifice in my faith journey. Living sacrificially is a way that God draws me nearer, and binds my heart with God's heart. The more sacrifices I make for the sake of God's love, the more completely my heart is tied to this love.