I sat quietly at the back of the small church with a few, mainly gray haired people, around me.
I have been at this place on and off over the years in various churches but it is often the same.
It is a Good Friday service.
Kids are out of school, families are planning a meal.
It was only a half hour community service to reflect on what happened on that day of crucifixion.
The message was straight out of scripture and talked about the thieves on the cross.
One thief who hung next to Jesus, mocked him.
The other thief actually believed in Him, declaring Himself a sinner yet Christ, sinless.
He asked Jesus to remember him and without hesitation, Christ told him, “today, you will be with me in paradise.”
Just like that, one man believed and was granted eternal life.
The other thief would rather go to his death mocking the only one who could save him for all eternity.
I marveled at the fact that we as a people go about our busyness and routines, often without a thought as to where we will spend eternity or who we will spend it with.
This work that Christ did on the cross for mankind should draw people into the streets, shouting in celebration.
We should be so grateful for what He has done that we want to give our very lives to live proclaiming his name for whatever number of days we may have breath.
Yet, we quietly come together in small, aging groups with very little sign that the next generation wants to follow suit.
For all of us young or old, we have to come to the place that we identify with either one thief or the other.
It isn’t about showing up for a service but rather about believing in the deepest level of our hearts, that there is a Savior who loved us enough to die in our place and we need him.
“Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.” Is 53:4-6
What a Savior!