In the name of Jesus Christ, we are called to be a people of mercy. In our confession of sins, we receive God’s forgiveness in Jesus Christ and the Lord heals our wounds. Having been shown mercy, may we not withhold the grace to forgive others as we remember the past but in the name of Christ let our hurt go.
The freedom Paul imagines for us is not only freedom from but also freedom for. It is our allegiance to Christ that shows us how to experience life. It is our obedience to Christ’s way that sets us on the path to life. Allegiance to Christ means the freedom to be God’s instruments, God’s tools for life.
In Christ, you are liberated from “I can’t” with the promise that God will equip you and empower you for the work that is before you. In Christ, you are set free from “you shouldn’t” with the promise that grace not only abounds but it also expands like a mustard seed into a tree or yeast into a loaf of bread. Where grace is at work, the kingdom of God grows strong.
True religion is not just about holy days and a holy place; it’s about every day and every place and every person.
To those who feel like they are more mature in the faith – the Elijahs among us – live your lives in such a way that you leave this place in a whirlwind, accompanied by the glorious spectacle of fiery horses and chariots. In other words, live a life that will end dramatically, seen off by a parade of people you have faithfully helped to walk in Christ’s footsteps and whose lives you have helped transform. Live in such a way that people watching you will say, “I’ll have what they’re having… only make mine a double!” To the Elishas out there, seek out an Elijah, one who will model a good and faithful life, showing you how to produce the fruit of the Spirit, and guiding you ever closer to the Jesus Way.
Rev. Bob Rice is a PC(USA) Mission Co-Worker in the Democratic Republic of Congo, along with his wife Kristi. They visited SIPC as part of our Mission Conference.
We have a reached a point and time in human history where it is absolutely necessary to consider the place of God and faith in our lives as it leads us to acknowledge the cause of Jesus and follow him even if it invites some measure of suffering and sacrifice.
When Jesus is intimately near to us and when we walk the Jesus Way, we find that the peace and serenity given by the Holy Spirit never depart from us, despite the risks and challenges of discipleship.