"They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.
SEEING LIVES TOUCHED AND CHANGED FOREVER BY THE POWER
OF GOD ONE BY ONE. MARK 9:23
Evangelization play in reconciliation; giving our lives in this way is "reasonable
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
If a person drinks in the spirit of Paul's doctrinal teaching, he or she will present his body a living sacrifice and renew the spirit of his mind. Thus, outwardly and inwardly he will be on his way toward God's ideal for human conduct. All the virtues produced from this change will begin to grow and manifest themselves in his life. Self-surrender and its companion, self-control, are inseparable parts of this command.
Can those of us caught up in this web of interconnection dream of being drawn more closely and deeply into the ties that bind us? Will we, like Jesus, pray for the fellow on the next cross, and the ones who set the cross into the earth? “It is only together as the Body of Christ that we can hope to find healing, reconciliation, and genuine and lasting peace.”
The church’s role must be about proclaiming the good news of God’s creative encouragement of new possibility, about engendering hope, and proclaiming the vision of abundant life for all God’s creatures.
Christians are not distinguished from other men by country, language, nor by the customs which they observe. [They do not inhabit cities of their own, use a particular way of speaking, nor lead a life marked out by any curiosity. The course of conduct they follow has not been devised by the speculation and deliberation of inquisitive men. They do not, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of merely human doctrines.
Instead, they inhabit both Greek and barbarian cities, however things have fallen to each of them. And it is while following the customs of the natives in clothing, food, and the rest of ordinary life that they display to us their wonderful and admittedly striking way of life.]
They live in their own countries, but they do so as those who are just passing through. As citizens they participate in everything with others, yet they endure everything as if they were foreigners. Every foreign land is like their homeland to them, and every land of their birth is like a land of strangers.
They marry, like everyone else, and they have children, but they do not destroy their offspring.
They share a common table, but not a common bed.
They exist in the flesh, but they do not live by the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, all the while surpassing the laws by their lives.
They love all men and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned. They are put to death and restored to life.
They are poor, yet make many rich. They lack everything, yet they overflow in everything.
They are dishonored, and yet in their very dishonor they are glorified; they are spoken ill of and yet are justified; they are reviled but bless; they are insulted and repay the insult with honor; they do good, yet are punished as evildoers; when punished, they rejoice as if raised from the dead. They are assailed by the Jews as barbarians; they are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to give any reason for their hatred.
Our hope is based on the reconciling love of God – and reconciliation requires vulnerability.
Reconciliation just might require sitting in the trenches long enough to hear the song of other human beings, both lament at what is lost and yearning for what might be. Reconciliation requires sitting in the mud, knowing despair and depravity, and daring to dream of a different future. When we know the depths of our helplessness, that we are made of dirt and cannot ultimately save ourselves or fix the emptiness, we just might begin to welcome the stranger as an essential part of our own salvation. When that recognition begins to be mutual, reconciliation becomes possible.
The hard work of reconciliation requires an openness or vulnerability to being transformed. We won’t experience a different outcome or a shift in the status quo without that vulnerability.
Our own efforts at reconciliation must echo or imitate that same relinquishment of power, privilege, and fixity of position. Reconciliation here is going to require dreaming that emerging future
and moving toward those we see as enemies. Reconciling work creates a different future, something that would never have existed without the tension that called forth our journey
across that boundary of fear.In the darkest time of crucifixion, as Jesus hung on the cross, feeling abandoned, God was still at work. The creative and unexpected response to that
particular entrenchment is what we call resurrection. Our task is to continue to plant and nurture hope in the face , our shared yearning for a meaningful place in this life, the hopes we have
for our children and the world around us. No one, no other, is beyond God’s love – or else we are all beyond that possibility. Today, we are to consider the “works of mercy”. It
is at the very heart of our search to see the face of Christ as the face of compassion, the embrace of mercy the caress of the Nazarene in the incompleteness and need of life itself. We know them
from our earliest days and from reading Matthew 25 the dramatic and powerful scene of the final judgment.
Feed the hungry (Mt 25:35)
Give drink to the thirsty (Mt 25:35)
Clothe the naked (Mt 25:36)
Welcome the Stranger (Mt 25:35)
Visit the Sick (Mt 25:36)
Visit the Imprisoned (Mt 25:36)
Bury the dead (Tobit 1:17 & 12:12).
Similarly the “spiritual works of mercy” enable us to accompany those with spiritual lack:
From the standpoint of vigilance
•counsel the doubtful;
•instruct the ignorant;
From the standpoint of reconciliation
•comforting the afflicted
•forgiving offenses willingly
•bearing wrongs patiently
From the standpoint of including all of the above
•prayer, focused on asking God on behalf of the living and the dead
That is what it means to run to the empty tomb; that is the direction of more abundant and resurrected life. May resurrection begin again in this place, in the hearts of these blessed people – and in the hearts of those
May God bless you and may we walk together on this beautiful journey!
I am asking the assembly to pray for faith enough to dream that God’s creative possibility might yet emerge in the business of the ministry and honour what God put together
Prayer: Father, we come to You at this time and ask that everyone of us might look into our hearts and be sure that we have been reconciled to God. Thank You for giving all of us the ministry of reconciliation. Thank You that You have not only reconciled us but called us to cry to others, "Be ye reconciled to God, it is available, it is possible, God has made a way." And we cry that to sinners here this morning who have not been reconciled and we ask, O God, that You would prompt their hearts to believe and to repent, turning from their sin and saying, "I want forgiveness for my sin, I want the hope of heaven, I want God in my life, I want to be reconciled." O Father, I just pray that Your Holy Spirit will work that marvelous miracle of reconciliation in hearts today. And we thank You for bearing our sin and for letting us bear Your righteousness. This is all overwhelming and we are unworthy, but grateful. Speak, Father, to those hearts who do not know the Savior, who have not been reconciled and draw them to Yourself. And may they have confidence in the words of Jesus who said, "Him that comes to Me I'll never turn aside." And we ask that sinners might come today and in faith embrace the righteousness provided for them by the one who bore their sin. We thank You in Christ's name. Amen.
Receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of Your Life The Bible say, “that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shat be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation’ Romans 10:9-10.
To receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life, sincerely pray this prayer from your heart: Dear Jesus I believe that You died for me and that You rose again on the third day. I confess
to you that I am a sinner and that I need Your love and forgiveness. Come into my life, forgive my sins and give me eternal life. I confess You now as my Lord. Thank You for my salvation
Pray: “Father, in Jesus’ Name, I confess Your Word over my “I claim the prophetic promise that GOD gave to me! I release the angel of God to bring MIRACULOUS PROVISION & PROSPERITY,
DIVINE HEALING, AND SUPERNATURAL RESTORATION into my life just as God promised! No weapon of the enemy will prosper! God is my PORTION – HE is my STRENGTH – HE is my DEFENDER – HE is my PROVIDER
– and I receive THE BLESSING OF GOD’S LIVING FAITH right now, in JESUS’ NAME! Angel of God, I receive God’s blessing from your hand.”