SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 9:12 (TM)
He also bypassed the sacrifices consisting of goat and calf blood, instead using his own blood as the price to set us free once and for all.
STORY as told by Lynn Jost:
During his reign, King Frederick William III of Prussia found himself in trouble. Wars had been costly, and in trying to build the nation, he was seriously short of finances. He couldn't disappoint his people, and to capitulate to the enemy was unthinkable. After careful reflection, he decided to ask the women of Prussia to bring their jewelry of gold and silver to be melted down for their country. For each ornament received, he determined to exchange a decoration of bronze or iron as a symbol of his gratitude. Each decoration would be inscribed, "I gave gold for iron, 18l3." The response was overwhelming. Even more important, these women prized their gifts from the king more highly than their former jewelry. The reason, of course, is clear. The decorations were proof that they had sacrificed for their king. Indeed, it became unfashionable to wear jewelry, and thus was established the Order of the Iron Cross. Members wore no ornaments except a cross of iron for all to see. When Christians come to their King, they too exchange the flourishes of their former life for a cross.
We have witnessed or at least heard of the sacrifices made by athletes preparing for the Olympics. We saw the media coverage of the women who lost both of her legs while covering and protecting her two children in one of the recent tornados. We might of made a sacrifice ourselves because of our love for someone else.
Sacrifices are demanding. They change our priorities. Sacrifices focus our attention elsewhere. Thus is the point of the story about of Prussia and the Order of the Iron Cross. What was once important is not in important any longer.
Our freedom, our life was so important to Jesus that he bypassed the normal process of offering up an unblemished goat or calf on our behalf. Instead he offered up himself. It was his blood, not that of an animal that was placed upon the altar of life. We hear that. We proclaim that. We celebrate it. But do we understand it? Do we appreciate it? Really, really?
Sacrifice made. Sacrifice given. Sacrifice offered. And we are free. Free to begin life anew. Free from the fear of those things that go bump in the night. Free from old agendas. Free from hatred. Free from bigotry. Free from prejudices. Free from worry. But to be truly free we must in turn embrace the freedom. Live as freed people. Live as if something has truly happened.
The people of Prussia wore their Iron Crosses with great pride. They had sacrificed and helped when the freedom of their motherland. People of the cross wear it different … by how we live, how we treat others, how we think and behave. We are resurrection people and alleluia is our song.
Help us live as truly free people, Gracious God. Help us to embrace it with our whole self. Help us throw off anything and everything that would hold us captive to our old ways. Help us become truly Resurrection People. Amen