Monday, June 03, 2013

Being Reconciled to God

Monday, June 3, 2013 -- Week of Proper 4, Year One
The Martyrs of Uganda

[Go to http://www.missionstclare.com/english/ for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
     (Book of Common Prayer, p. 968)
Psalms 41, 52 (morning)      //     44 (evening)
Deuteronomy 11:13-19      
2 Corinthians 5:11 - 6:2      
Luke 17:1-10

There are many ways to experience resentment toward God.  When something awful and tragic happens, sometimes we cry "Why, God?", sometimes with clinched fist.  When we do our best and still know we've fallen short of some divine expectation of perfection, we might angrily think, "What's the use?  I'm not perfect", maybe with clinched jaw. 

Over and over Paul speaks of reconciliation, but almost always he speaks of our being reconciled toward God.  In Paul's language, it is human beings who are offended, angry, even hostile toward God.  It it we who need to be reconciled to God.  In Paul's view, we find ourselves in a helpless and hostile condition toward God, and we need to sense ourselves reconciled to God.

The gift of justification through Christ reconciles us to God, according to Paul.  The amazing free gift of grace -- God's complete acceptance of us even in our rebellion -- takes away our hostility.  In Christ, God soaks up all of the pain and injustice of the world, takes it into the heart of God, and raises everything as a new creation, offering us the free gift of friendship.  We don't need to be angry at God anymore.

Our performance doesn't matter any more.  We are accepted as we are.  It is a gift.  We can just be.  We don't have to measure up to some internal or external standard in order to feel okay.  God makes us okay.  So relax.  No need to be mad or resentful. 

Painful tragedy has a new face when we know Christ shares our suffering in the cross.  Everything horrible is a participation in his cross.  God knows; God feels; God is with us in our grief.  Resurrection happens.

So instead of being angry or resentful toward God, we are reconciled.  God is so much better than we thought.  God is not some projected parental figure telling us to measure up.  God is not some impotent power letting us suffer.  God is the gentle, nearby love who comforts us in our pain and accepts us in our failure.

"So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:  everything old has passed away: see, everything has become new!  All this 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.  ...Be reconciled to God.  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."  (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)


Lowell
___________



Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Go to: http://www.stpaulsfay.org/id244.html

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html

Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

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