Friday, January 23, 2009

Forgiven – Claimed – Loved – Called

The Church community to which we belong is called St. Paul’s, named after the person in scripture who had persecuted the members of “the Way,” that is what this peculiar sect of Judaism called themselves. But Paul came come to know Christ Jesus; he became one of his followers and was instrumental in bringing the Good News to the whole world.

In the Letter to the Galatians Paul writes, “God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles….” And thus, Paul describes his mission to the world on behalf of God.

All are Forgiven
The extraordinary proclamation of the Gospel is that it’s not bloodline or faithfulness to the Torah that matter to God, it’s God’s love. Paul’s gift as a leader in the early Church and as a trained theologian is that he moves this small, raggle taggle band of Christians beyond their own worries to a movements that transforms people. The Good News is to be proclaimed, “among the Gentiles”. In other words, the Good News is to be proclaimed to the whole world, even outsiders, distant relatives and enemies.

All are Claimed
Paul is not making any extraordinary claim upon himself when he writes that God set him apart “before I was born”. He is simply acknowledging something any one of us can, and should claim, that God knows us, every bit of us, even before we were born.

All are Loved
We could knock ourselves out trying to get God to love us, but it would be to no avail. It is “through his grace” that we are brought into relationship with God. There is nothing we can do that will make God love us more, and there is nothing we can do that will make God love us more. God loves us and that’s the Good News.

All are Called
Our response to God’s love is what matters. Paul knew that his encounter with the risen Jesus was “so that I might proclaim him”. And Paul knew that this is what we’ve been called to. Some of us will do so by preaching, some by teaching, some by healing, some by prayer, some by example…. Each of us has some way that we can show the transforming love and justice in the world. It doesn’t need to be in large and dramatic ways. Be assured that God has called you in some way to proclaim God’s love in the world, to proclaim that all are forgiven, all are claimed, all are loved and all are called.

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