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A sacrificial life Recently I was home for lunch during three waves of rain and hail. I stood at the kitchen window and watched a hummingbird non- chalantly sip nectar as ice chunks fell from the sky. Somehow he dodged all of them. I expected the little guy to hightail it for cover, but no—it was a serene scene of nourishment in a context that could clock the bird’s brains out at any second. I was envious of such peace and security,

and I concluded that the hummingbird’s behavior involved more than simple survival. It had everything to do with sacrifice—for family, even for a species. It was some built-in inclination to love. We live in a land that has kidnapped what

love might look like: love is a many-splendored thing; love is never having to say you’re sorry. Ask most people to draw a picture of love and many will produce a Valentine heart with an arrow through the center. But for Christians, love is concentrated in the giſt of the cross. We are dunked into the

Maybe others will be drawn to Jesus when they actually see a different sort of love in his people—love that resembles a cross.

sacrificial life of Christ at baptism and are marked

with the cross of Christ forever. Martin Luther signed his body with the cross before his feet hit the floor in the morning and again at night before dropping off to sleep, bracketing the day. Tis was a reminder of his core identity in baptism—a reminder that the shape of our lives is meant to look like a cross, love poured out for others. “A life laid down” was a core message in the early

Christian church. John’s community was definitely in the minority—a small band of people trying to remain faithful to Jesus. Perhaps the dwindling percentages of Christians in Europe and North America can learn something here. Maybe others will be drawn to Jesus, not through threatening pamphlets or door-to-door

sound bites but instead when they actually see a dif- ferent sort of love in his people—love that resembles a cross. Rodney Clapp is a writer and Episcopalian living in

the Chicago area. He tells a story of his home church and a renovation project that required new sanctuary carpet. Te new carpet in Clapp’s church was beautiful,

but there was a problem: it held a rather wicked static electricity charge that packed quite a jolt. Tis was especially true when coming forward for communion to sip from the metal chalice. Shoes built up a charge on the carpet and taking a sip of wine was enough to knock you on your duff. Maybe the metaphor here works for any celebra-

tion of communion in our congregations—we come forward for peace and tranquility, green pastures and the status quo, but Christ chooses instead to knock our socks off with the radical forgiveness offered in his body and blood. He laid his life

down for us. In the strength of this meal, we go and do likewise. 

Author bio: Honeycutt is pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Walhalla, S.C. His latest book is Jesus and the Family (Cascade, 2013).

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