Lectionary reading: Romans 13:8-14 (NRSV)
Over the next three weeks, I will preach a series on the difficulties of God’s grace that I’ve entitled, Full: Finding God’s Abundance in Our Lives.
When we discover grace, we find that we have more than enough of the things that really matter.
Grace allows us to move past bitter hurts.
Grace allows us to forgive those who have done us wrong.
Grace allows us to love our enemies.
The difficulty comes when we encounter grace and feel as if we are undeserving. Of course, this may be a necessary feeling so that we do not begin to take God’s gifts for granted. A little humility is an important ingredient for seeing grace for what it truly is.
With apologies to Wayne and Garth, sometimes our response to the idea that “we’re not worthy” is to try to earn our way into God’s favor. We end up incorporating a “works righteousness” theology that will always leave us lacking.
Rather than work to curry God’s love, we work in response to the love God has already bestowed upon us. This may sound like semantics but it is crucial in how we understand the human-divine relationship.
Our work for Christ comes out of thanksgiving and gratitude rather than seeking to gain what we already have.
Gifts are often difficult for us to receive. And as we look at the Romans passage, we see that we become part of the gift to the world when we seek to act out in love. Love is not an easy thing or a simple thing. My own capacity to love others is expanded when I seek God out in my life.
This Sunday will be the first of our new 9:45 am worship service in the sanctuary. I will be preaching at 8:30, 9:45 and 11:00 am in the sanctuary and at 10:50 in Wesley Hall. Trey will be preaching at 7:00 pm in Wesley Hall as he and Matt finish up the series on the General Rules. This gives a lot of opportunity for worship! If you are in the area on Sunday, I hope you’ll join us! If you can’t make it in person, you can always catch us on Facebook live or replay it later.
Check out Sam’s Blog here: http://precedinggrace.blogspot.com
Photo by rumpleteaser via Flicker.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.