June 5, 2012

Dear friends,

It was another “beautiful Sunday morning at Linwood,” and another wonderful time of worship.  We have one more Sunday worshipping in the Chapel.  On June 17 we move to the Tabernacle.  Whenever you are in or near Linwood please join with us.  We have an amazing God to worship, and I know you will be blessed.

You may have noticed that this year most of my grandiose gestures are accomplished with my right arm.  Here’s why.

I am now about 8 weeks into rehabbing my left shoulder.  I had replacement surgery on March 20.  Some of you are thinking, “I thought you were rehabbing a replaced body part last year.”  And you are right.  Unless I have lost track, I have had four replacements in the last four years (knee, shoulder, hip, another shoulder).  Please spare me the “bionic man” jokes – I am sure I have already heard them!

In all seriousness, there have been moments when I have gotten discouraged and felt overwhelmed with the idea of another surgery and another rehab period.  However, in those moments, I have often found myself thinking, “What would my life be like if I were not able to have these surgeries?  What if I had to live every day with the pain in my knee, hip, and shoulders?”  Thank you, God, that surgery can help me to move and walk freely.

I find it interesting that Jesus spent much of His ministry healing.  He gave sight to the blind, He healed the crippled, He cured all kinds of diseases.  Why?  First of all, the miracles of healing were immediate demonstrations of Christ’s power.  Second, they brought relief to many who had very limited options in terms of doctors and medicine.  And third, and I believe most important, they were also demonstrations of an even greater healing that Jesus wants to bring to us – the healing of the soul.

Sin, like illness, injury, or maladies of various kinds, impacts our lives.  We are no longer free, we “walk with a limp,” we are in pain.  Sin in one area of life tends to lead to sin in another (as a bad knee if untreated can make for a bad hip).  Sin has its impact.  Sin never just goes away on its own.  In fact, sin grows.  And THERE IS NOTHING THAT I CAN DO TO GET RID OF IT!  To think that I can rid myself of sin – and assure that I can stay sin-free in the days ahead – is as foolish as thinking that I can perform replacement surgery on myself!

I praise God for some incredible doctors, remarkable surgical procedures, and an amazing physical therapist.  Without them, I would probably be best described as crippled!

I praise God even more for God’s offer of forgiveness of sin and new life through His Son, Jesus.  Without that, I know that I would be crippled by sin, a condition far worse than any physical ill.

Is surgery easy, pain free, and without complications?  NO!  Is it easy, pain free and without complications to come before God, to repent, and to entrust ourselves completely to His grace?  I think you know the answer as well as I do.


In the book of Romans, Paul takes a good, hard look at himself and his life.  His conclusion?  “I am a wretched man!”  “Wretched” is probably not the word we would use.  Yet, if we are truly honest with ourselves we would reach a similar conclusion.  “Who can save me from this body of death?”  In other words, who can perform surgery on my soul? Fortunately, Paul knew where he could turn – in fact the only place he could turn for such surgery.  “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ the Lord.” (see Romans 7:14-25)

I praise God for my new body parts – but even more for the “surgery of the soul” that He has performed, and the new, free life He has provided through that surgery.

Hope to see you Sunday.  If that is not possible, hope to keep connected through these midweek e-mails.

In Christ,
Hu Auburn,  Linwood Park Pastor
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