Dear Church,

On the TCF website the tagline under the title is “come die with us”. This had confused people. I suppose we ought to put a scripture reference there for explanatory purposes. However, it is meant to be provocative. It is meant to startle. We are pretty jaded folks these days and it is hard to catch us off our been-there-done-that guard.

Of course the line is taken from biblical language: if anyone would come after me…. for me to live is Christ to die is gain…. I am crucified with Christ. But the question is: do we know what these verses mean? How would you explain such verse to an unbelieving inquirer? These death verses are familiar to most of us, but I am afraid they have turned into platitudes that no longer shake us out of our complacency.

Tomorrow is a fasting day for our churches and I want to encourage you to fast (in some way shape or form) with a view toward understanding this death. It is, remember, good news. How is it good news? In Mark the disciples received explanations as they pulled away from the crowds and inquired of Jesus in private about the meaning of his teachings. I pray we will do the same. I pray we will be joyfully surprised.

Bless you,