Friday, June 24, 2016

Grace and Peace

Seems that there are two types of sermons you will hear on any given Sunday.  One type tells us that it’s all OK; that you are already worthy of God’s love.  You are a child of God.  You are enough!  You are a Human Being not a Human Doing.  Be still and know that I am God.  Just breathe!  This is a message about grace – a gift given freely that was not earned.  A pure gift, just like your breath and your life, it pours out upon you unceasingly each day.  You receive grace with a heart of appreciation.  Then there is the sermon about getting off your butt and bringing about some change in the world.  A message about you doing something to bring reconciliation and wholeness to the world.  You each have a unique gift.  You have something the world needs and it’s time to get off the couch and do your work in the world!  The Hebrew word for peace is Shalom.  It’s not peace in the absence of negativity.  The word shalom has a much deeper meaning.  This is a peace felt when one is in right relationship with yourself, your neighbors and the planet.  It is the peace of being whole and it involves action.  So go out and bring about peace.  Be an agent of change and social justice.  Bring about the kingdom of God!  It is here that you now provide grace to others.

There are two types of messages - one about grace and one about peace.  When things are crazy in your life and you can’t seem to catch your breath.  When you feel out of control and tossed about by your circumstances.  Then you need a message about grace.  But when you are bored and you don’t seem to have a clear purpose or direction.  When you sit waiting for God to move you.  This is when you need a message of Shalom.  Grace and Peace to you!

As you get ready to start the summer, reflect upon whether you need grace or peace in your life right now.  Is there Sabbath and rest needed in your life or do you require passion and purpose?  Grace and Peace are different sides of the same coin reflected in our faith.  The apostle Paul closed each letter to the early Christian churches with this phrase.  Paul himself was either on the road evangelizing by bringing a message of God’s hope for reconciling the world or he was in prison silently reflecting upon the grace of God.  Life reflects this cycle of receiving and giving.  First you receive grace – you breathe in.  When you are full and overflowing you give – you breathe out.  You are either receiving or you are giving to another.  You receive grace or you’re providing grace to someone else.  You receive what you need; then you give from your abundance that which someone else is missing.  It’s a wave - a cycle that you are always in.  You must learn to recognize where you are at in your life.

Each Sunday we provide a message of grace and/or of peace.  Each Sunday we celebrate our common life in Christ together.  Notice that throughout the Service we both give and receive.  We reflect the nature of our interdependent life together as we share in the grace of Jesus’ life poured out for us.  The deacon then dismisses us with the charge of now bring that message of hope and reconciliation to a hurting world through us – “the Body of Christ.”  So be aware that all of us are either in need of grace or peace at any given time.  Be aware of how we both receive from and then serve one another.  Grace and Peace to us all!

Your faithful servant,