In this midst of a continuing pandemic, and amidst the varying hardships overwhelming our nation, you make ask of God, what do you want of us? How can we see your divine healing in this land? Micah offers guidance in just such a situation – so listen to the Lord. The answer is living with God, and living for others. Do justice. Love Kindness. Walk humbly with your God.
Encouragement, which comes in many forms, is necessary for healthy and faithful relationships. We have the ability to encourage another by offering affirmation. And yet, sometimes we should not be affirmed. At times, our encouragement needs not to show up as affirmation, but to show up in the form of exhortation, where we are encouraging others to live more faithfully.
Through acknowledgment of what is, by naming sin that exists, by naming our participation and benefit from sin, freedom becomes possible. Because of God’s love in Jesus Christ, we can claim our sin, we can be made new, and we can have a new life that exemplifies God’s love.
God has blessed this world with more than we would ever need. And yet, so many still go without. As Christ was our example, our call is not to offer temporary relief that retains one’s oppression, but to offering freeing love that gives new life.
As we consider what it means to be a Community Catalyst, what does that look like in the world today where the church is not the withholder of power, but still proclaims God’s power? How does the church not be the gatekeeper of grace, but still proclaims our freedom from sin and death, made possible by grace? How does the church not require acclimation, but still proclaims Christ as the truth and the way? How does the church actively work as Christ did, to free the oppressed, to heal the sick, to give life to the dying, while not claiming glory or attention for ourselves, but giving thanks to God in heaven above?
The reason the American Dream is such a farce, is that America started with a vision that not all people were created equal – regardless what the Constitution says. But as the church, as God’s people, we are called to proclaim God’s love for all people, and that means speaking up for and sharing God’s love with those who are treated as outcasts.
The Spirit isn’t sent to make us comfortable. The Spirit isn’t sent to pat us on the back for the work that we’ve already done. The Spirit is sent that we might break down any barrier, any power, any divide that separates any person from true life and mutual love. This work starts with you. This work starts with me. It starts with our own heavy lifting to understand why the world is the way it is today. It starts with our naming our own complacency with the unequal society that we live in.
God’s desire for the world is not that a few succeed, while the many suffer. God’s desire is for us all to thrive as one body, as one people, as one creation who live and love in a peaceable union. This was not the world before COVID-19, and it is not the world today. So yes, we have work to do, essential work to do, and it does not take our gathering in this building to do that work.
To understand Paul’s writings, you have to understand the art of letter writing. Paul wasn’t writing a collection of instruction books for the whole of Christianity, he was writing as an apostolic leader to communities of faith he planted. How we understand his writings will be wholly dependent on how we understand why he wrote.
Jesus demonstrates for us an alternative approach to engaging with those in our mission fields. He doesn’t just say God’s love is available for “whosoever,” Jesus demonstrates what it means to offer that love to “whosoever.”