Arise, You People
Posted in Evangelism
Scripture: “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; everything has become new! All is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17-20
When’s the last time you believed yourself to be an ambassador for Christ? Have you ever been “stuck,” unable to move and don’t even care? Frozen in place, without direction, and utterly “lost.” Confused, confounded, bewildered; certain of nothing or nobody; totally alone? Even now, could you be urgently desiring to “do” something or anything, but can’t?
It is some part of human nature to feel emotional disjuncture once in a while, but probably not with such an alarming degree of desolation. When it’s “me” in life’s pit, it seems awfully dark, deep, and hopeless. Fortunately, for most of us, life does not get to such depths or stay there for very long. Oftentimes, whether intentional or coincidental, we may be saved by the acts of others that pull us away from our own sense of foundational depravity. (Not sure what our Presbyterian forebearer John Calvin might have to say about that.)
As we read and assess our lives through the lens of scripture, we might well wonder how it is that God has allowed us to live and thrive in our self-centered lives for as long as we have. From the very beginning of our fall from grace in the Garden of creation, we have heard from the apostle Paul that God was at work “reconciling the world (us) back unto himself through Christ Jesus.” From the earliest of times, we mistakenly thought our futures were all about us, but that was never so. We ignored and sometimes even challenged God’s authority over us and thought we could prevail in our own strength and will. We were wrong. God was patient.
Even as Jesus walked among us and with us “because God so loved the world” (John 3:16-19), we chose to deny God’s plan because it did not appear to be “right,” as we saw it. Like Peter, we may have denied knowing Jesus– perhaps even more than three times! In his love, Jesus forgave and reminded us that we should gather together, pray, and receive God’s restoration in the power of his Spirit. A living church was born and has flourished in Pentecostal power, in many unimaginable ways. We have been so naïve and corrupt, that we dared to believe all along we were responsible and in charge. In many respects, that’s the place it seems we may still be caught up.
Yet in our innermost spirits, there is a glimmer of hope that still recognizes and encourages us towards our better selves through Christ. Are we once again waiting together to receive anew that Spirit gift of God’s renewal? “You call from tomorrow; you break ancient schemes; from the bondage of sorrow, the captives dream dreams. Our women see visions; our men clear their eyes. With bold new decisions, your people arise.”*
Are we together, in purpose, ambassadors? Dare we listen? Can we hear? Will we arise?
Prayer: Holy God, forgive us, call us and strengthen us to arise to meet and share your love. Amen.
Submitted by Bobby Fuller
*Manley, James K. (text and music), Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness, 1978.