Saturday, April 8, 2023

 Once is Enough


By nature I have never been much of an adrenaline junkie.  I was speaking with a friend, recently, who was all excited to go sky diving for the first time ever.  Normally, first time jumpers are required to leap from the plane in “tandem,” that is to jump harnessed to an experienced skydiver.  However, his wife was apparently able to somehow pay extra money, above or below the table, which would allow him to jump solo.  I can’t help but wonder if she had recently drawn a life insurance policy on the man.  Noteworthy to say…I have not seen from or heard from him since.  I wonder how it went?

My first real experience with thrill seeking came in 7th grade, when I traveled to Valleyfair in Shakopee, MN.  It was my friend, Matt, who had invited me to be his guest on this excursion with his church youth group.  It soon became apparent to me that these youth group leaders must not have cared much for their students, as Matt and I, along with every other student under their supervision, was left to indulge in as many near death experiences as we could find ourselves in as we navigated the park. 

We began our journey on the Viking Ship…I hated it…I have not ridden the swinging boat since…once was enough.  We rode the Excalibur, Wild Thing, Cork Screw and every other roller coaster in the park which resulted in…hate, hate, hate. 

Years later I met the girl who would one day become my wife.  She took me to Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, OH.  It was pretty much the same story, ride after ride I was force to offer faux bravery and enjoyment on the high climbs and steep drops.  My favorite part became waiting in line.  Over the years, I learned to tolerate roller coasters, but I could never say that I have learned to love them. 

There came a day when I was leading my own youth group to Valleyfair.  I had every intention of sitting on a bench somewhere in the shade and reading a book, or perhaps taking a nap.  This pleasant anticipated Eden never took place.  The driver for the other vehicle…who happened to be about twice my age and the Lead Pastor of my church had other plans.  As soon as we stepped foot into the park the 68-year-old man asked, “What are we going to do first?”

“Well…the Imax theater is always nice this time of year.”

“Which one is the favorite?”

“I guess most people prefer the Wild Thing.”

“Ok…let’s do it!”


I was transported back to that pioneering experience of 7th grade as Pastor Phil insisted on my participation with him on every ride in the park.  After trying many “favorites,” we concluded our time at the…Power Tower…Drop of Death …The Tower of Terror …High Rise of Hades…Plummet to Pandemonium…it really makes no difference what you call it…it is death upon exit.  Of all of the rides in the park ,this was “THE ONE” in which I never wanted to ride.  Yet, how can I tell a 68-year-old man that I am scared, not interested or too tired. 

The pimple faced teenage worker buckled us in and read to us the warnings, dangers, cautions and had us sign waivers along with our last wills and testaments.  The open air chairs hauled the two of us up 275 feet to the top.  This is easily the highest point in the park, and I am quite certain that I could see my vehicle in the parking lot, and the headlights are on! 

“Hey wait!…let me down…I left my headlig….” 

Then…you drop.  Of all of the times I wondered if I would ever get the chance to hear a preacher swear I thought that this must be it…but no…I was wrong.  The silence gripped us both as the bottom dropped out and we fell.  Finally, I hear a shrieking voice screaming like a frightened little girl.  I looked to my right where Pastor Phil sat expecting to see him screaming, but his mouth was closed…at which time I realize the sound was coming from me.  Upon the end of the ride, I stepped onto the hot pavement with my legs shaking like Thanksgiving Jell-O.

“Wow! That was a ride!” Phil exclaimed.

For me, however, once was enough and I am proud to say that I have never been on a ride like that since, nor do I intend to ever ride one again. 

For Jesus, “Once is Enough,” means something entirely different.  Hebrews 10:1-18 delivers a picture of the repetitive obligations that the Law required, year after year, to deal with the problem of sin.  Every year it had to happen…the High Priest needed to make atonement for the sins of Israel.  It never lasted. It was an unending obligation that was never fully adequate. 

Jesus changed all of that.  Jesus is our Great High Priest and what He did…just once…was enough for eternity!

Jesus died once.

He rose once.

He paid for our sins once.

And once…is enough.

May we come to see that Jesus’ life, death, burial and RESSURECTION…are enough!

Happy Easter, He is Risen!

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