Thursday, May 19, 2016

e-vo for week of May 18

Dearest e-votees,

This Sunday is Holy Trinity Sunday.

We remember that the nature of God is community. We remember to that we have been invited into this community. When we were made in the image of God (imago dei) we were made with the capacity and need to be in community.

May you be blessed with your community this day. I know they are blessed to have you.



1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Romans 5:1-5, NRSV

We can stand in God’s presence. God has graced us into the divine community. We are justified by faith. We are at peace with God through Jesus.

Scripture is full of people falling to their knees or faces in the presence of angels and God. They cower in fear or bow in reverence. The default mode seems to be a hybrid of abject terror and stifling awe. But we can stand with God. I would expect we still might get woozy in the knees when those moments and times come but the fear can be gone. Perfect love drives out all fear. Our love is far from perfect but God’s love is just what we need.

God has graced us into the divine community. That is because we had no way to earn it or demand it. If we did try to earn it or somehow pay God for it our offerings would be insulting trinkets compared to the surpassing value. Some have said mercy is not getting what we deserve and grace is getting what we do not deserve. The only way we are into the divine community is unabated, amazing grace.

We are justified by faith. We have no legal standing or defense before God. All of us have sinned and fallen short. None of us are beyond condemnation in our own unregenerate selves. We are like the repentant thief (Dismas) who says (in Luke 23:40-41, NRSV) “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Were we to get what we deserve for our deeds we would be in a world of hurts. But Jesus received what he did not deserve (the dark side or costly side of grace) so that we would get we do not deserve. And we receive this justification by faith. And even faith is a gift and work of the Holy Spirit. It all comes by grace.

We are at peace with God. God has made peace with us. Not as the world gives but as God gives. Peace is ours. When sufferings come we can rest in the peace and boast. We can be at peace knowing endurance is coming. We can be at peace knowing character is being formed. We can be at peace with a hope that runs contrary to the world. God’s love has been poured into us as a work of the Holy Spirit. It all comes by grace.

God, help us abide and delight in the divine community that you have opened up to us. Thank you for the peace and the justification that you have given to us. Help us find ways to share that gift with all. Amen.

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