Neighbor Love and the Cross

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3 crossesEvery once and awhile I hear a sermon that I feel I need to share on my blog.  This past Sunday at Trinity Lutheran Church, I heard such a one by Pastor Dan Poffenberger.  To me, I heard a real connection between neighbor love and the cross, which was grounded in Luke 9:21-25.  Since this blog deals a lot with the theological idea of what might it mean to love your neighbor, I felt this sermon would be a helpful contribution to the conversation.

Dan begins the sermon recognizing the cross as a centerpiece, and grounding a theology of the cross.  This theological understanding (which I believe I share with him), is grounded in love.  Love, is really God’s primary motivation.  Taking this a step further, he ponders and wonders about who was Jesus thinking about when on the cross?  In trying to explain the connection of salvation, the cross, and us, etc., it all comes down to love.  The connection, whatever it is, is and was borne out of love.  Whatever the logic to this is, “its God’s logic.”

Sometimes we turn the cross into something about ourselves, that we alone have to bear. The truth is, there is no need to be preoccupied about this.  Grace is a free gift.  So the question then is, whose cross are we picking up?  Dan makes the connection then between picking up the cross and the call to love your neighbor as yourself.  Basically, “I bear a cross of love for my neighbor.”  Think about this,

“I bear a cross of love for my neighbor.  You are free now and forever to love your neighbor.”

Dan later makes the connections to the idea that we are not dragged out to the public square and put on a cross.  Rather, we stand with, sit with, listen, and talk with others.  This process of meeting others is our cross.  According to Dan, these crosses though difficult in the moment, in hindsight are often quite lovely.

The notions here, and the connections here are examples I believe of the “Happy Exchange” that God in Christ has made for us.  By taking up our crosses, we are to let ourselves lose ourselves daily for the sake of loving our neighbor.

What do you think?

Image Credit:  Three Crosses

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