Mar 28 2019

Pastor Mike at Aztec Methodist Church

I recently had to wait at McDonald’s because they had run out of “round eggs” for the Egg McMuffin I had ordered. When I heard the term, I remembered an article I had read that said most of the breakfast sandwiches at McDonald’s use what they call “folded egg”. These are eggs that are cooked elsewhere, frozen and reheated in the local store. To be the right consistency when thawed they add modified food starch, salt and citric acid. For eggs in the burritos have cane sugar, dextrose and xanthan gum added to preserve flavor before being shipped frozen to the store. The scrambled eggs in the “big breakfast” are eggs with citric acid as a preservative, which are cracked elsewhere, and sent to the local store. But the “round eggs” are eggs cracked on site and cooked in a metal ring to give them the round shape. There is of course nothing wrong with safe additives and preservatives being served to the public, and I’m sure most of the fast food chains use similar practices. But unless you know the facts you may not be getting exactly what you think you are. 

The same can be said of our lives as Christians. Do our lives match what we say we believe? One of the chief arguments non-believers have against Christianity, is that people don’t live up to their stated beliefs, and we are accused of being hypocrites. Indigenous peoples pointed out to missionaries that when they fight and squabble among themselves over doctrine or church organization, they are belying the statement of Christ that His followers would be one, and could be known by their love. The same is true for individual Christians. We know that we fail and don’t always live up to our ideals. Our faith does not always appear authentic.

The Lenten season is a good time to ponder where we fall short, and ask for God’s grace to have our deeds match our actions more consistently. That is God’s work of sanctifying grace. God is working in us to make us into the people God created us to be. Our sins are forgiven by God’s grace, but we need to realize that sin is anything we do or say or think that separates us from God or from other people. Sin is not just disobedience to the 10 commandments, but has to do with our attitudes and words as much as our deeds. 

 Jesus’ death on the cross gives us the promise that our sins are forgiven, and our relationship with God has been restored. But God is not through with us. The Holy Spirit continues to work on us, guiding us to become the people we were created to be. Our relationships with other people take a lot of work to repair and the Spirit guides us in how to accomplish this. The Spirit also renews us from within.

Paul’s words in Romans 12:9-18 give us a goal for Lent: “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor… Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the humble; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

We should think about this ideal as we go about our days in Lent and beyond. You may want to look up the passage to see what verses I omitted for lack of room, not because they were unimportant.