The last couple of weeks have been rather busy as I’ve been preparing for speaking at revival services at Post Oak UMC, and an additional service at another church near Camden that invited me to speak on one night of their revival. So that’s why it’s been a little bit since my last post.

At Post Oak’s revival, I wanted to open the window a little bit into the world of what’s been driving my research throughout my graduate and postgraduate journeys as I have been investigating the doctrine of the atonement, in particular from a Wesleyan/Methodist perspective. So I decided to do a series on some of Jesus’ statements from the cross recorded in the Gospels. Jesus’ dying words have been significant in uncovering the mystery and story of our salvation as it has been achieved through the Incarnation, ministry, suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ.

Cover of Adam Hamilton’s ‘Final Words from the Cross,’ which was a very quick read, but beneficial in offering pastoral words that convey the significance of Jesus’ dying words. I heartily recommend this book. Photo credit: sony.com

In the statements he uttered and shouted from the cross, Jesus spoke words of forgiveness, of hope and promise, of provision and encouragement to care for others, of his own need, of bold faith and empathy with the human condition in our times of feeling abandoned, of victory, and ultimately of submission to the will of his Father. These words are moving for us as the speak not only of Christ’s work for us, but also of his work in us, enabling us to offer the same words to those around us as we follow our crucified Messiah.

What I found particularly interesting is the timing of this series and how it coincided quite well in expanding the content of my message  on the Sunday morning on the day the revival started. My message last Sunday was based on the Lectionary reading from Ephesians 4-5, with the key verse being 5:1, “Be imitators of God, as beloved children.”

While most impersonators in comedy sketches today focus their energy on perfecting the tone, accent, and appearance of the famous persons they are imitating, the type of imitation of God that St. Paul encourages us in is in having the same attitudes and feelings, actions, and even words of God. That is, if we are beloved children of God, we imitate God by saying what God says. Again, the Holy Spirit enables us to imitate Christ in our suffering by offering the words of forgiveness, hope, encouragement, pain, thirst, victory, and submission to God.

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