The Cross Challenges “Me” to Ask the Question: “How Should I Live?”


(Emanuel A.M.E. church has first Sunday service since shooting) Published on Jun 21, 2015 –Just days after a gunman killed nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, worshipers gathered for their Sunday service.

“Will we be extremists for hate, or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice, or will we be extremists for the cause of justice?”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“If the church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.”

John Stott

“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

Consider this ….

Diane Sawyer, the veteran broadcaster on “Prime Time Live,” recently asked Billy Graham, “If you could wave your hand and make one problem in this world go away, what would that be?” Without pausing for breath, Dr. Graham quickly replied, “Racial division and strife.” This will not be achieved with the waving of a wand, but through the reconciling gospel of Jesus Christ in local churches that experience the power of Pentecost. Nothing in our global village can bind us together but the reconciling message of the cross. The ground at the foot of the cross is level. Christ, alone, brings us together in his body.”

The CrossIn our culture symbols like the Confederate flag communicate significant meaning. Today the people of Emmaus A.M.E Church as they grieve they have also acted as a reminder to all of us because of how they have responded to an act of injustice. Their capacity to choose to love and not to hate gives credible witness to the Power of another symbol! This symbol is rooted and grounded in history. It is the Cross of Christ! It is the power for those who surrender to its message to forgive rather than to retaliate. It emancipates men and women to live by a higher ethic that is counter culture because it does not engage others on the basis of tolerance but instead – it loves in a way that it treats others with full dignity and respect that the Creator (God) afforded them as being made in His image. The Cross is also a message of Courage in which it stands against all injustice! The Cross gives voice to a message that is heard throughout all time with phrases like, “Father Forgive them for they know not what they do!” Or “It is finished!” These words become personal because they were declared for me and for you. Or in the words of the great biblical Scholar, John Stott, who declared, “Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.”

john stoot quote on the cross

So today as I weep with those who weep in South Carolina. I ask myself this question:”In light of the Cross how shall I live its message of Courage, Freedom, Forgiveness, Humility, Love, Hope, Reconciliation, and Restoration!”

About PastorAl

Al Soto has been married to his incredible wife Valerie for 30 years and they have five sons and one grandson. Al has been in Local Church Ministry for 35 years as both as a Lead Pastor, Associate Pastor, and for five years as a Regional Overseer for his denomination. He has a BA degree from LIFE Pacific College and is currently completing an MA in Leadership & Spiritual Formation from Vanguard University. He currently resides in Lincoln, CA where he is the new Lead Pastor for one of the Campus locations for Bayside Church. He continues to coach High School Football for the Lincoln Fighting Zebras for the Junior Varsity Program and is facilitating Leadership training and coaching as well as facilitating Spiritual Retreats. His hobbies include Golfing and Scuba Diving as well as he is a veracious reader. His Life Statement is “Real Success is Helping others to Succeed!”
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