We aren’t Christ. We aren’t the savior of this world. But people can see Christ’s love through you. People can see Christ’s grace through you. People can learn about forgiveness and mercy, welcome and love, God’s presence and peace and good news of grace through you.
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So when someone asks you for a blessing, don’t look over your shoulder and say, “Who me? I could never do that.” Offer them what you have. Your time. Your ears. Your hands, Your words. Your faith. Go into those dark places with them. God will do the rest.
But all of us have nets that need to be dropped. Because all of us are called by Christ, all of us are called to be transformed.
When Christ was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, he didn’t go into that water because he needed to repent and be forgiven of his sins. He is God’s Son. Jesus went into that river so that we could follow, so that we could join in his life. So that we could join that dying to sin and evil and captivity, and be led into new life of true freedom and joy.
The lamps and oil Jesus speaks about in this parable are not fueled by fear, but by love. By welcome. By knowing the power of grace and the gifts of the Spirit.
The good news for today is that all of us have been invited to the best party ever. To the best celebration. Whether you have thought of yourself as in or out, good or bad, religious or non-religious, God wants you there. Christ has made a way. There is a seat waiting for you.
That yearning, that search for truth, that restless drive that there is something greater out there, it was just as alive and present 2,000 years ago as it is today. Paul met it when we arrived in Athens for the very first time.
As Paul talks about our gifts of the Spirit, I can’t help but also be reminded of Jesus’ message to us: “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before others.” If you ever wonder, what is a spiritual gift, this is my definition for you: It is that which brings light out of darkness. It is whatever makes this world more beautiful and wondrous and full of love. Your spiritual gift is when your light shines for the whole world to see.
Being a part of the Body of Christ means that we are fully welcomed by God. But it also means that each one of us, no matter what our status is defined by the world, has a part of play and a calling from God. Our walk of faith isn’t to live as people who only receive. It is meant for us to be active and serve and give back. It is meant to be a part of God’s hands and feet, part of the great healing work of redemption.
There are over two billion Christians in the world today. Imagine if we all worked together? Imagine the gifts, the dreams we could accomplish, the visions for a better world. There is so much we could be as the body of Jesus Christ if we could simply learn how to come back together.