Saturday, December 5, 2015

Focus on our mission

Written 12/02/15

As individuals and as a Christian community, we are called to freedom which means letting go of all the safety and certainty found in the systems of the world designed to make us feel safe, and depending only on our Savior who promised to be with us always – even to the end of the age. That’s all the security there really is. The rest is illusion.

Humans are a messy race. Our diversity makes us uncomfortable, so we seek people like ourselves, who look like we do, approach life and belief in God the way we do, etc. There’s nothing wrong with building communities among people who share values and sensibilities. The problem comes in when walls go up around those communities in order to keep others out and the rules of the community supercede Christ's great commandment to love. When that happens, the community is suffering from what is called the ‘Galatian error’ which St. Paul addresses in his epistle to that church: “Stand firm and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. For you were called to freedom…” (Gal 5:1)

Living in the freedom of our faith requires that we remember how we all came to have salvation. We are saved because God acted to save us, not because of anything we can or should do. And God acted to save us because God loves us – all of us. There are no outsiders in Jesus’ family and the only rule is to love: God, neighbor, and self.
Our salvation is a gift freely given by our loving Lord. The only thing we can actually do is respond to that gift in faith and humble gratitude, living the life of freedom we were given and opening the way for all people to do the same.

While it is tempting to chase after spiritual law-breakers, that isn’t our purpose – it’s sin. It divides us one from another and from God. It is this sin which keeps making the news and breaking our hearts, as in the shooting just yesterday in San Bernardino, CA.

The people of God, particularly the children of Abraham (Jews, Christians, Muslims) aren’t called to judge. Nor are we ever called to execute a child of God in the name of God. Ever.

We’re called to manifest the love of God in the world. As Mother Theresa of Calcutta once said, “When you know how much God is in love with you then you can only live your life radiating that love.”

Proclaiming and radiating love - that it is what we are called to do – and it isn’t easy. Jesus said, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… do good to those who hate you… expecting nothing in return… seventy times seven times. (Mt 3:44, Lk 6:27, 40, MT 18:22) Trusting God to mete out justice in God’s time and in God’s way, we are free to “carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world” until all are free. (BCP 855)

Today, I call upon our community of faith to focus on our mission as Christians: pray blessings on those whose pain erupts into violence and comfort for those whose lives are ruptured by that violence. Proclaim the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ, and work tirelessly promoting justice, peace, and love. (BCP 855)

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