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Them, Too?

The Bible literally ends this way:

The grace
of the Lord Jesus Christ
be with all the holy ones. Amen.
Revelation 22:21  

Who’s in?

Who’s out?

Whether we approve or not, Scripture is clear: all. 

(Please don’t panic, we’ll get to those next three words in this verse, I promise. For now, let’s hold up at that three letter word, all.)

This little word all is majorly inclusive. Maybe for some reading this right now it’s monstrously inclusive.

Bishop Woodie W. White loves to say that every time we pray the words “Our Father, who art in heaven” we get a whole lotta family we might not have counted on.

How big is the circle God draws? Bigger than I can imagine.

And it includes them, too? The last verse of the Bible says it includes all of them.

Let’s hope they’re not asking the same thing when they look at us: “Them, too?”

 

 

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The Final Word. Now.

The Bible literally ends this way:

The grace
of the Lord Jesus Christ
be with all the holy ones. Amen.

—Revelation 22:21  

It’s not a wish, nor a hope, nor a dream.

It’s not even a prayer.

It’s a stated fact.

As in, The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ ALREADY IS.

Like, ALREADY IS with you.

Right now.

And so?

Third World, a reggae band, sings, “Now that we’ve found love, what are we gonna do with it?”

Now that we have (t)he grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, “what are we gonna do with it?”

BONUS: Human. Kind?

Human. Kind —

Whose Final Word?

The Bible literally ends this way:

The grace
of the Lord Jesus Christ
be with all the holy ones. Amen.

Revelation 22:21

Seems quite clear whose grace this is: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Boom. Nobody else can lay claim to being the source of such grace!

Time to cue up a favorite seasonal song of so many, one that we usually sing in November —

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”

Songwriters: KENNETH PAUL BARKER, ANDY CLONINGER, CLAIRE D. CLONINGER, HENRY SMITH
© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., CAPITOL CHRISTIAN MUSIC GROUP

— The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. For real and for sure.

 

 

BONUS BLOG: You’re an Exception

“Doesn’t she know that she is an exception in this world,

where it is normal to be unhappy,

to be hungry,

to work non-stop and earn next to nothing,

and to suffer the whims of everything

from tyrants to hurricanes and earthquakes?”

[— https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/09/18/sunrise-sunset]

May those words remind us this weekend to count our blessings, to work for peace and justice, and to be engaged in living into the grace we so readily enjoy.

Somebody say Amen.

Now let’s get going.

 

The Final Word: Engaged, or Not?

The Bible literally ends this way:

The grace
of the Lord Jesus Christ
be with all the holy ones. Amen.

Revelation 22:21  

 

We are to engage in the means of grace, not just be passive recipients of this divine gift. We sailed right over that yesterday.

How in the world are we to engage in the means of grace? From the same source as yesterday [http://www.umc.org/how-we-serve/the-wesleyan-means-of-grace] —

As we look at the means of grace today, they can be divided into works of piety and the works of mercy.

Works of Piety

Individual Practices – reading, meditating and studying the scriptures, prayer, fasting, regularly attending worship, healthy living, and sharing our faith with others

Communal Practices – regularly share in the sacraments, Christian conferencing (accountability to one another), and Bible study

Works of Mercy

Individual Practices – doing good works, visiting the sick, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry, and giving generously to the needs of others

Communal Practices – seeking justice, ending oppression and discrimination (for instance Wesley challenged Methodists to end slavery), and addressing the needs of the poor

— So that’s how we how in the world we are to engage in the means of grace.

Are we?

Don’t answer too quickly.

Hope to see you back here tomorrow.

The Final Word: So What’s It Mean?

The Bible literally ends this way:

The grace
of the Lord Jesus Christ
be with all the holy ones. Amen.
—Revelation 22:21

Quick review: it’s all about grace.

Moving forward: so what’s grace?

I’ve spent more time than I’ll admit trying to write a simple answer beyond something like “grace is a gift.” Let me simply share with you a copied and thorough presentation, succinctly presented —

John Wesley taught that God’s grace is unearned and that we were not to be idle waiting to experience grace but we are to engage in the means of grace.

The means of grace are ways God works invisibly in disciples, hastening, strengthening, and confirming faith so that God’s grace pervades in and through disciples. [http://www.umc.org/how-we-serve/the-wesleyan-means-of-grace]

— Questions for self-inventory: is my experience of God’s unearned grace in Christ stuck in idle? Am I still waiting to experience grace? Do I really believe that God works invisibly in me? And can others see that God’s grace pervades in and through me?

Let’s pick up here tomorrow. We skated right past a key phrase in that cited excerpt, with good reason.