I hope the sermon preparation has gone well; I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say (although this week it will have to be the recording, as I will be spending this morning teaching eleven year olds from Ruth 3 - awkward). I just wanted to let you know what I need today. It's the same as all the other weeks, but I know we're all forgetful and these things easily slip our minds.
I need Jesus.
I need Jesus, not as a slogan or a theological idea, but as himself, in person. I need the God-man, who walked on the same globe on which I walk, and breathed the same air I breathe. I need Jesus, not as an untouchable high and exalted deity, but as God-with-us, humbled to the dust - yes, even to the cross. I need Jesus, not as a model of how to live, but as the giver of life, the conqueror of death, the one who spreads his righteousness over me.
For God's sake, and for mine (and for yours, for you shall be judged for what you say), don't explain the Bible to me. Don't teach me some lessons. Don't apply any moral principles. For God's sake give me Jesus. It is your sole commission to proclaim him as food for hungry souls, light for those in darkness, healing for the spiritually and physically sick, a Shepherd to those wandering alone, Lord and King to those adrift on a sea of their own contradictory desires.
For God's sake, and for mine, remember that I might die today. I need comfort for death. And remember that I might have to live tomorrow. I need comfort for life. Nothing can give it but Jesus.
For God's sake, and for mine, if the message you have prepared for this morning is not Jesus - if he is not the heart and soul of it - screw it up now. Don't worry about preparing something else; there isn't time. Just stand up and tell us all that Jesus died and rose for us. Say it like you mean it, and that will be okay for us.