Monday, June 22, 2015

Weekly Meditation - Pentecost 4

Greetings in the Name of Christ Jesus our Lord!  This morning let's consider yesterday's Epistle lesson, 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, and in particular 8b-10, which reads, "We are treated as imposters, yet are true; as unknown, yet well known; as dying; and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything."

What do you see when you see a Christian?  What do you see when you look at yourself, in fact?  St. Paul here drives to the heart of what faith in Jesus "looks" like... and what it really is.  As Christians, we go beyond merely what the world sees - we trust what God has said, knowing it to be true.  And this contrast shows up all over the place in the Scriptures, this is Isaiah 53 and Good Friday - the world see in Jesus' crucifixion the death of a haggard fellow, but by God's Word and Spirit we know it is God's own sacrifice for us and our victory.

Just as the world out there didn't understand Jesus, they don't understand the Christian life, they don't understand you.

Are you treated as an imposter - that is, someone who isn't really ________ - isn't really a part of this clique, or family, or group, or social club?  Do you not fit the (often wicked) standards of society?  So be it - you are of the family of God, the royal priesthood, heirs of the Kingdom.  Or, in other words, "true".

Are you treated as an unknown, a nobody?  Someone of less than importance, not worth taking note of?  So be it - before the world was created Christ Jesus determined to come down from heaven and win you salvation by Name, calling you in the waters of Holy Baptism.  That's pretty well known.

Are you dying?  Is your own body falling apart?  So be it - behold, you live in Christ, and even if you die, yet you will rise and live forever.

Are you punished?  Legally, socially, at work, at school?  Are you sins always tossed out at you again and again?  So be it - you are not killed for them, for Christ Jesus took up your death for these things.  He has borne your punishment - and for you who is in Christ Jesus there is no more condemnation.

Are you sorrowful?  Often there's enough reason to be sorrowful in this life.  Yet the truth is this - you are redeemed by Christ, and He shall wipe away every tear from your eyes.  Sometimes we see this now, sometimes we forget - but it is true.

Are you poor?  Are you not as successful as you would wish, do you lack?  So be it - but even if of silver and gold you have but little, you possess the life giving Word of God, the Gospel of Christ Jesus, which makes people heirs of eternal life -- not only are you rich, you have eternal riches to share with others!

Are you, finally, having nothing?  Are you in fact, nothing?  Do you amount to nothing in the world's book?  So be it.  Christ Jesus has died for you, He has risen for you. He has take away your sin, and in return He has given to you all that He is, His love, His righteousness, His holiness, His mercy -- I could go on and on.  All of it, yours.  In Him, you possess everything.

All of this is the tension we come across in our lives - where in this world, in this life things seem bad.  But God has declared you forgiven on account of Christ, so things are not what they seem.  This week, when the things of the world seem dark and dim, remember who you are in Christ, and be at peace in Him.

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