August 18, 2009
God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. Romans 5:8-9
The writer of Hebrews spoke about a "cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1a).
That usually is interpreted as the Lord having provided special people whose lives, by the power of the Holy Spirit, are spiritual examples on how we should live the Christian life.
Apparently, some men and women in Nicosia, Cyprus, have a different idea about sainthood -- at least with one saint: Agapitikos.
Now we all know Saint Agapitikos is not up there with Nick and Valentine. Even so, Agapitikos is pretty popular with the unhappy lovers of Cyprus. For centuries these disappointed people have believed that Saint Agapitikos can help them get a response from someone who hasn't been willing to give them the time of day.
The recipe for love is simple: take some dust, dirt, or stone from the saint's grave, mix it with wine and get the object of your affection to drink deeply. If you do that, according to the story, true love will be born.
Silly? Of course, it is, but not silly enough to kill the tale. This is why crowds of Agapitikos believers are hammering off chunks of the old saint's grave. So grave (sorry about the pun) is the damage to the tomb, the island's Department of Antiquities has been asked to provide assistance and advice.
Personally, I'm pretty sure Agapitikos' tomb can't help anybody with anything.
I'm even more sure we really don't need real or imaginary saints to get God to love us. We have a Savior. We have a Savior who has, in every way, shown how much the Lord loves us.
Unlike Saint Agapitikos who is supposed to help people with love, Jesus is love.
He is the love of God made flesh. Through the Savior's suffering, death, and resurrection, we know the grave will not have the final say in our lives.
Through Jesus we are convinced Satan has been defeated and our own tomb will never be our final resting place.
In short, through Jesus' resurrection we have salvation.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for being the love of God we most desperately need, I give thanks. May I always praise You who turned us from being enemies of God into being Your redeemed children. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries