We’re so glad you found our website. Whether you’re visiting us from another part of the world, or from right here in the Huntersville, North Carolina area — welcome!

We’re so glad you found our website. Whether you’re visiting us from another part of the world, or from right here in the Huntersville, North Carolina area — welcome!

We’re so glad you found our website. Whether you’re visiting us from another part of the world, or from right here in the Huntersville, North Carolina area — welcome!

Pastor Paul's Blog

What Difference Does It Make?

We are nearing the end of our journey as a church preaching through the Gospel of Mark.  We started on January 1 with the first verse of Mark’s Gospel, “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (NRSV)  It has been an interesting journey.  We have grappled with the identity of Jesus amid many passages that asked, “Who is this man?” and “Where does he get this authority?”  Then, in Chapter 8, the conversation shifted.  The question was no longer about identity, but about meaning.  Jesus lays out what it means for him to be the Messiah.  He clearly says he is going to Jerusalem and die, and then be raised from the dead.  He tells his followers that if they want to be his disciples, they need to follow him, unequivocally.  Yes, it may mean death.  Yes, it means a cross.  And yes, there is self-denial.  But, all of this is ultimately GOOD NEWS.  GOSPEL!

We entered Jerusalem with Jesus and his followers.  It was in Chapter 11 that we began to focus on the last week of Jesus’s life when we celebrated the “triumphant entry.”  Out of 16 Chapters, 11 through 16 deal with the last week of Jesus’s life.  No wonder many scholars have called Mark’s Gospel an account of the events of Holy Week with an extended introduction.

We continue to walk with Jesus as we remember the events of Thursday and Friday of that week.  We do so with two services of worship, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  In my experience, these are two of the most moving and powerful events on the church calendar.  I implore you to come if at all possible.  But, I guess I would ask myself, and you, “what difference does it make?  Will it really matter to the way that I live my life?”

It’s a legitimate question.  Some of us go to church a lot.  Sunday after Sunday, often during the week, too.  Will one or two more services make any difference in the way that I live my life?  My answer?  Maybe, just maybe it will.

Maundy Thursday commemorates the events of the last night of Jesus’s earthly life as he shares a meal with, and prepares his disciples for, his death.  There is so much to be discovered about what it means to live in Jesus that comes out during that meal.  In the symbols of the bread and the wine, in the conversations Jesus has with the disciples, the path of discipleship is fleshed out in powerful ways.  If we did nothing else other than share in the communal meal that Jesus initiated that night, we would find such depth of meaning for our journey with him.  If we can take seriously the things Jesus tells us during this meal, our lives would be changed considerably.  It would make a difference.

Good Friday remembers the death of Jesus on the cross.  We touched on it last Sunday at church, but on Good Friday we are confronted once again with the story that both convicts and saves us.  We find that we are more like the Apostle Peter than we care to think.  We will deny him with words and actions, and ultimately we desert Jesus in this most critical time.  But, we find that the stark picture of Jesus hanging there dying for us is God’s ultimate statement of love and offer of reconciliation.  The death of Jesus, somehow, points to a love that knew no bounds, a love that would go to any lengths necessary to bring us back from the despair and hopelessness of having to find our own way, to living in the moment in God’s grace and mercy.

Does it make a difference?  It has, and can, and will make a difference.  Once you have truly experienced that sense of forgiveness and blessing that comes in this story, you are changed.  It doesn’t mean it is not still a struggle.  It does mean that you can change from what you have been to what God is calling you to be.

The services each night are at 7:00 p.m.  There is music and there is liturgy.  There is the familiar and the unexpected.  Most of all, there is an opportunity to be shaped and changed by a message that is still quite capable of changing our priorities, shifting our focus, offering a new way of being.  My hope is that you will come.  It does have the makings of a “Holy Week.”