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One last story: years, ago, an executive from a soap company and a famous pastor were walking down the street together. They were to attend a meeting where they were going to be honored by their city for their contributions. With a snide sort of smirk, the soap manufacturer off handedly said, “Reverend, you know when you get right down to it, the good news the church has been preaching for a few thousand years hasn’t done that much good, has it? Take a look. Read the paper. Observe. There is still a whole lot of wickedness in the world, and a whole lot of wicked people doing wickedness, too!”

The pastor was quiet for a while. Not because he had nothing to say, but because he wanted to say his piece in the right way. They went about a half a block down the street, passing a little child who was making mud pies in the gutter. The boy’s hands were dirty. His face was dirty. His clothes were dirty. Realizing the opportunity, the pastor said, “You know, I see that soap hasn’t done much good in the world. That boy shows me there is a whole lot of dirt and a whole lot of dirty people playing in it.”

The soap executive rose up in defense and instantly replied: “Oh, reverend, you know, soap is only useful when it is used.” And the pastor said, “Exactly, so it is with the good news of Jesus crucified and risen.”

We preach Christ crucified. The old wooden cross has changed the world. Once a hated and despised form of execution, a torturous form of death, it now is a symbol of hope. Because of that cross, and the man, Jesus who died on it… God has offered to erase, eradicate all our evil thoughts, our bad behavior, the commandments we have broken if we simply “cling to the cross of Jesus” and trust in his resurrection from the grave. Amen, Amen… let it be your truth in this culture.

(taken from Lutheran Hour sermons by Ken Klaas # I Corinthians 1:23 # 70-28)

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