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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

The 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

We’ll come back and unpack this verse a bit later. But for right now, simply consider with me how our Scriptures end: with the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Like an old hymn says, “Grace, grace, God’s grace! Grace that is greater than all our sin.” To admittedly rip a Bible verse way out of context, “Do you believe this?”

I love that question. Jesus asks it in John 11:26.

Grace.

God’s grace.

Sure seems to be where everything in our Bible winds up.

Again, I ask you: “Do you believe this?”

That is, can you and I trust this to be true?

Is God’s grace really with all God’s people, and does that include us?

Let’s meet back here tomorrow.

 

 

Do, Love, Walk

Do justice

Love kindness

Walk humbly with your God

Micah 6:8

This brief but powerful Old Testament book is packs a lotta punches.

Three such nudges are in just this one verse.

We’ve read it before

We’ve heard it.

We’ve heard about it.

So what will it look like when we actually do these three things in Micah 6:8?

God tells us to be involved in promoting  justice…how will you do that today?

God is calling you and me to love with kindness…which means we’ll change our behavior toward whom, and how?

God invites us to walk humbly with God’s very own self…how will this closer and more humble way of living look today?

 

 

Carry This, and Be Carried

It’s been my honor and pleasure to be in ministry with a bunch (like 6!) of Associate Pastors. Good stuff all the way around.

Most recently Rev. Jessica Baldyga and I served together. Among the many delightful things I learned from her is this Benediction, which she gave me gracious permission to share with you here.

But first, to continue what I’ve been taught about giving proper attribution whenever possible, she said, “I learned it from Rev. Donna Claycomb Sokol, my internship supervisor at Mount Vernon Place UMC in DC, who I believed learned it from the Duke Chapel at Duke Divinity School.”

Okay, enough preamble. Here’s said Benediction; carry it with you today and beyond —

May God go

before you to show you the way,

behind you to encourage you,

below you to lift you up,

above you to watch over you,

and within you,

so that others might always see

the light of Christ’s love

shining forth through you. Amen.

 

— Amen, right?

See you back here tomorrow.