Sunday, April 08, 2007

Redemption - The Stuff of S&H Green Stamps
Today is the day of redemption - Easter 2007. This morning at church we sang a song written by Jesse Dixon called I Am Redeemed. The first verse says:

I am redeemed, bought with a price,
Jesus has changed my whole life!

If anybody asked you just who I am,
tell him: I am redeemed!

Where there was hate,
love now abides,
where there was confusion,
peace now reigns.
I'm walking with Jesus,
all because, all because
I am redeemed.

Redemption is one of those words that is not common in the English language and it is tough to truly understand its full meaning, let alone to be able to declare that you have been (or even need to be) redeemed.

I grew up in the midwest where each week when we went to the grocery store we were issued S&H Green Stamps corresponding to our purchases. It was fun to collect them and even more fun to redeem them from the catalog. Other friends of mine had mothers that faithfully clipped coupons. They too could redeem the coupons, but there were often limitations, such as expiration dates or rules and regulations surrounding what they could be used for.

Today's version of S&H Green Stamps in my world is frequent traveler points and miles. In exchange for loyalty, a travel supplier (such as an airline or a hotel) grants me points or miles and when I have amassed enough, they allow me to redeem them for goods and services.

By themselves, the stamps, coupons and miles are not valuable and can't be traded for money, just goods and services.
The price that I pay for them is actually greater than money, as I pay for those goods and services with time away from my family.

The price that Jesus paid for my redemption is even greater than that. He paid a debt that He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay. There was nothing that I could do to redeem myself from my bad choices and mistakes, but the amazing thing is that I didn't have to. The price was already paid.
He paid with his life and bought love and peace in the place of hate and confusion.

But remembering that today is Easter begs the reminder that He is not dead, He is alive. In fact, 1 Corinthians 15, verse 4-5 says that after His resurrection over 500 people saw Him alive!

So we serve a living, loving God. And if anybody asks you, just tell them, that I am redeemed.

Chicke Fitzgerald

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