And so his last words become our legacy. What I have done for you, he says, you must now do for others. It is finished, but it is never finished.
Grace brought me to him; Grace made me right with him; Grace is the only way I am allowed to live with him. God’s first word and his last word toward me is Grace.
How shall we struggle to identify what keeps us rooted and grounded in our shared covenant even when we are not in agreement? How shall we “hang in there” with each other - not in spite of, but because of our different views? We share deep roots. Our Wesleyan heritage is rich and grounds us deeply in the love of God and love of neighbor. We share deep roots and from what I’ve noticed over the last fifteen months, our branches spread wide.
The central question for Abraham was never, “Are you circumcised?” The central question was, “Is your circumcision a reflection of walking blamelessly and faithfully before God?” The central question for the church, then, is, “In doing these things [baptism, accepting Jesus, or taking Communion] are they expressions of faithfulness and an awareness and a pursuit of the terms and conditions of a covenant relationship with God?” It is not, “Do you call yourself a Christian?” It is, “Do you live a life worthy of that name?”
He is saying that those who get it will be the ones who realize we’re nothing by ourselves that what we want most from life won’t happen if we think we have to do it ourselves. It will happen when we let the One Who Is Enough serve us as Lord, and Messiah, and Friend.
Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church, preached this sermon at Taylor University Chapel in 2009. An outline accompanies the podcast. Dr....
Bishop Wallace-Padgett serves in the Birmingham Area of the United Methodist Church. This sermon was adapted from one delivered shortly after her appointment there. From...
Wait. Watch. Work. This is how it happens. One conversation at a time, one meal at a time, one prayer at a time, one bag of food at a time, one nail at a time, one kind word at a time in the name of Jesus. That’s how the Kingdom comes.
I understand these people better than I want to admit. I know what it means to become so focused on the work and the politics and the systems and the next big book that’s going to tell us how to really do it right, that I can forget what Jesus is capable of and why he’s filled me with the Holy Spirit and what he’s called me to do. Somehow (I’m sure this is not the correct theological language), it seems like the Spirit leaks out. Or maybe I push him out. I know it has happened when I find myself telling God how big my storm is, rather than telling my storm how big my God is.
What we need is someone to help us. What we need is someone to free us. What we need is someone to forgive us. What we need is someone to make us stronger. What we need is someone to help us grow into the people we most want to be. What we need is a Savior. What we need is Jesus Christ! And even as we need Him so does every man, woman or child on this earth -- and if we are not willing to do all we can to share the One who alone can meet every human need with every human being possible, then it is a betrayal at the deepest level of love, love of our fellows and love of our Christ who came to save all.