Hear It Again … For The First Time

Dear friends,

Some years ago, the makers of Corn Flakes began an advertising campaign to re-introduce its cereal to the American public. There were several commercials, each showing a person sitting alone in a kitchen with a bowl of Corn Flakes in front of them. The person would look at the cereal and describe how dull and boring it looked. He would predict that such a cereal would never sell with all the fancy choices on the market. After all, there were no nuts, berries, animals, marshmallows, or anything exciting. Then, however, he would taste the cereal and a satisfied smile would cross his face. And he would look toward the camera and ask, “What are they?” Much to the person’s surprise, the announcer would reply, “Corn Flakes.” As the person would nod with approval, the viewers would hear the new slogan, “Taste them again…for the first time.”

“Taste them again…for the first time.” It was a clever slogan for a cereal that many people had grown up with and long forgotten with newer choices on the market. With slight modification, I believe it can be an appropriate invitation for this holy season. This week, we remember the most significant events in human history, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, yet many people are so familiar with the story that we have trouble getting excited about it. Amidst busy schedules, new outfits, egg hunts, abundant candy, and family gatherings, the story is easily lost in the background. We’ve heard the message so many times that it no longer surprises or amazes us anymore. Pastors like myself struggle to find a new way to make this old, old story fresh and attention-grabbing.

While we know the death and resurrection stories well, I invite you to join me in listening for God’s voice and experiencing the Good News afresh. In addition to the corporate worship , I encourage you to spend time reading and reflecting on the Scriptural accounts of Jesus’ last days and hours. Meditate on what Jesus willingly did in submitting to God’s will, facing both verbal and physical abuse without striking back before enduring death on a cross. What difference might it make in our spiritual lives if we prayerfully reflect on how much Jesus must love us to accept such a fate? Then, as we reach Easter, let us remember that Jesus has already overcome the power of sin and death in this world. Why do we often feel so defeated and hopeless when we celebrate and worship the risen Christ?

During this holy and life-transforming season, may we open our lives and hearts to the amazing Good News, ready to hear it again…for the first time.

Blessings,
Bill

P.S. What a blessing it was to hear the Mwangaza Children’s Choir on Sunday! Thanks to all of you who made this concert and visit possible (especially Amy Sauls and the Sauls family) and also to those who donated generously to the love offering . We collected $2048.33 to support the work of Africa Renewal Ministries, including $84.00 received through the raffle of the pillow made by Joan Burke. Congratulations to Julie Stoops who won the beautiful pillow.