The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Easter – A Spoken Word

*Spoken word written and performed by Luke DeMarco for Shades Valley Community Church’s 2017 Easter service. Audio recording coming next week.

Death in His Grave
I stand before the cross of Christ, mostly unaware of all my Savior suffered.
We see the Cross everywhere, and it’s certainly not a bad thing,
But let’s just acknowledge the fact that this is the only instance in human history where in instrument of torture has become a t-shirt design.
I forget the weight of His glory.
I forget the weight of His cross.
It’s meaning, though full,
Tends to get lost amongst the costly commodities this world deems worthy of worship.
But let’s stop looking at this jaded glimmer of this dying world,
And let’s fix our eyes on this… Cross,
As well as the King that bore it.

This King, anticipated by the prophets of old,
Who told the old world will fold with the cold sting of death,
And new life would emerge from the same breath that breathed life into Adam.
The Messiah was coming,
The Spirit of God was on him,
and He will send hell running back into the darkness from whence it came.
This world would never be the same! So the world looked longingly for the chosen One.
Little did death know he would be running from a carpenter’s Son.

Our king come down in humility,
There was no beauty in His appearance that we should desire Him,
Even though we should have longed for Him, and yet…
He desired us,
Despite the fact that our DNA was drenched in the very darkness He came to kill.
He still loved us, even while we were His enemies.

And enemies we proved ourselves to be.
While our Savior came to portray the image of God,
We hung him on a tree.
But make no mistake, the Savior’s will was free.
He knew this was coming, and He still came willingly.
After two years of ministry,
This carpenter King brought himself to cavalry,
This Beacon of Heaven, had brought himself to misery,
For the sake of us… why?

Because he loved us.
And we looked straight back into those mercy-filled eyes,
And denied Him.
We gazed at His glory and exclaimed “Crucify Him!”

And He made no defense.
No plea for mercy escaped his lips.
When we stared him down in our courtrooms,
Asking Him to state his case.
We had no idea that the Judge of Heaven had taken our place!
The crown of eternity was willingly replaced with a crown of thorns.
We mocked Him, and beat Him, and he bore our scorn.
Despite all this… we found Him innocent!
Yet our sin-torn hearts beat against Him.

It was then we placed this cross on his shoulders.
Both citizens and soldiers were thirsty for innocent blood to be spilled
In our sinful state, we desperately wanted the Living God killed. Little did we know…
It should have been us walking to Golgotha,
holding the cold weight of this cross.
It should have been us suffering this loss,
But behold, the Son of Man walked in our place.
Disfigured, disdained and defeated.
The hands that held the earth in place were cheated,
As we pierced them to pieces of wood.
The Firstborn of all Creation was hoised up,
As we stood idly by, mocking his precious name.
“If you are the Son of God, pull yourself off this cross!”

You were battered and beaten.
And our scoffing cries, drenched in lies,
was against all that you and I were made to do in the first place.
Worship was our purpose, but goodness was purged by the fallen fruit of Eden’s trees.
Instead of falling to our knees in repentance,
We mocked Him through and through.
But as the sun and moon turned their heads in disbelief,
The temple veil was torn in two.
What kind of love is this??

As the Savior breathed his last,
Every sin, mistake, and blemish of the past
Was covered in the blood and water that flowed from his side.
Jesus has drunk our wrath and bore our pride.
He died in our place, sin’s hunger diminished.
He hung his head, and through the blood and tears whispered,
“It is finished.”

But this is not the end.
And it never was. For our God, who mends
What’s broken, has spoken of this redemption since the beginning, before all the sin we’ve done.
The Father did not simply send his Son
To bend and break under the weight of sin and death.
But on Day Three… the Savior once again took a breath!
And the bandaged body of Christ began to have a heartbeat once more.
Beating out death by death,
Our Savior left His tomb, sealed by the stone.
The Man of Sorrows, who died all alone,
Has now become the Name above all names,
And He sits on His glorious throne.

He has conquered death,
And brought his Bride, the Church, out of hell’s clutches.
So we will walk through the valleys that go by death’s name,
We will walk through the flood and the fire just the same.
We lay our lives down, we consider all as loss.
For the sake of Christ,
We now live from His cross.
We are no longer orphans,
We are no longer slaves,
We are now children of God,
Bought with the blood that he gave.
Praise the name of Jesus!
He is mighty to save!
Worthy is the Lamb who lay death in his grave!

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Final Lent Devotional: Revelation 21:1-8

Revelation 21:1-8 (click here)
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (Revelation 21:3)

Reflection
God with us.

Think about it… just as it was in creation so will it be in consummation… all because of Christ.

We were created to be God’s people… his community… with whom he dwelt. But, we broke fellowship. Through our sin, creation and community were corrupted.

Yet, the entire storyline of the Bible declares that our God has not abandoned creation or his community… no… he comes for us! He will redeem us, reconcile all things, and dwell with us again!

In the tabernacle, he came to dwell amongst his people.

In the temple, he came to dwell with his people.

In Christ, God dwelt with with his people as one of them.

In the Holy Spirit, God dwells in his people.

And the day of consummation is coming when God will complete our redemption through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit and “He will dwell with [us], and [we] will be his people, and God himself will be with [us] as [our] God.”

Looking forward to that day is meant to provide us power  in the present! Power to be his people, sacrificing ourselves for one another and for the sake of his kingdom! We don’t have to make our lives all about building our own kingdom because we know that we are citizens of an everlasting kingdom that is coming! We can give our lives and sacrifice all for the sake of one another and the Gospel… we can be a cruciform community precisely because the community of the crucified Christ will be brought to consummation!

We must set this vision of community before us day after day… as we currently live amongst corruption we look and long for the day of consummation! We testify to it’s coming by living cruciform lives right now!

Oh Shades… let us be the cruciform community God has created us to be and called us to be! May he proved the power as we look forward to the consummated community of his kingdom!

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: 1 John 1

1 John 1 (click here)
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7)

Reflection
We like to associate with people who love what we love. Is this not the very motivation that stands behind all peer pressure?

For some reason, if there is someone in our midst who is not going along with what we are doing, especially if it is morally dubious, their presence bothers us. So they must conform or leave.

We like to associate with people who love what we love and do what we do.

We can deny it a we want, but the evidence bears witness to the contrary.

The apostle John is aware of people claiming to love God, but who do not like to associate with his people. You’ve never met anyone like that, have you?

John says that this is like claiming fellowship with the light while walking in darkness. The words and actions contradict one another. If someone is in love with darkness it will be evidenced by the fact that they do not like associating with people of the light… they want to associate with those who love what they love.

But… if we walk in the light of God, then we love fellowship with God’s people… not because we or they are better than those who walk in darkness, but because our own darkness has been cleaned by the blood of Jesus! We have been brought into the light and want to be with all others who love the light!

We like to associate with those who love what we love… do you like to associate with, fellowship with the church… the people of God?

Do you claim to love God? Is it evidenced by the fact that you love being a part of his community? Do you show sacrificial love to his people in a way that reflects the sacrificial love he has shown to you? Do you love to be a part of cruciform community?

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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