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I remember a field trip to COSI (Center for Science and Industry) as a boy and tasting Astronaut Ice Cream for the first time.  I thought it was nasty—but intriguingly so.  A story I read recently tells of an even better meal that at least one astronaut consumed.   Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon in July of 1969.  As the Apollo 11 Lunar Module was resting on the Moon, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin read a verse from the Gospel of John, “I am the vine, you are the branches…” and took out some bread, poured some wine (in gravity that is 1/6th of ours), and received communion.  He reflected later, “It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”  It is pretty amazing to think that this historic moment was marked, highlighted, and wrapped in the mystery of Holy Communion.

I found out recently that my great grandfather, an OBGYN, delivered Neil Armstrong in Wapakoneta, Ohio on August 5th, 1930.  Pretty cool, right?  But it doesn’t really change things, does it?  Neil Armstrong didn’t know me nor did he really know anyone in my family.  And, just because my great grandfather was there when he came into this world, it doesn’t mean I get to stake a claim in any of his accomplishments.  Neil Armstrong accomplished all that he did without my help—and without the help of my great grandfather too.  But, even still, because of that connection I now get to hook part of my story to his.  While I doubt there will be a Jeopardy question about who delivered Neil Armstrong, I do share a connection to a man who was the very first person to walk on the moon.

So, too, it is with Jesus.  You and I can stake no claim in what Jesus accomplished.  We do, however share the blame.  Jesus did His saving work apart from us and we can add nothing to what the Cross has done or will do.  The cross of Calvary belongs to Jesus alone.  But, by His great work, we are fortunate enough to hitch our wagon to His.  By His grace He lets you tag along and reap the reward.  No one on earth has done what Jesus has done.  No one in the history of time can do what Jesus has done.  But, in His infinite grace, mercy, and love, He brings you along and lets you be a part of what He is doing.  It is pretty remarkable when we stop and think about it.  Jesus owes us nothing—and yet He gives us everything.  We have earned His scorn—and yet He smiles upon us.  Our failures should cause Him to run away—and yet He runs towards.  Today, celebrate the joy of knowing that, through no work of your own, your life is hitched to The Way, The Truth, and the Life—Jesus!

Lent is often called a journey to the cross.  And, I fully agree.  But our journey isn’t carried out under our own strength.  We can’t get to the cross ourselves.  We are dragged there—sometimes kicking and screaming.  It is the one who hung from it that reaches out to us and pulls us along.  Like Buzz Aldrin did 238,857 miles up, we hitch our wagon to Jesus every time we come to the table of Communion.  Or, more to the point, He hitches Himself to us.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Stephen Katterhenrich permalink
    20February2013 09:13

    Great reminder Pastor Scott. I’ve always liked the image of hitching ourselves to Christ’s “yoke”, but it’s also an image that can be hard to relate to, since I know very little about cattle and yokes, but this was helpful in that regard.

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