This morning we struggled together with what it means to live abundantly. Only once we begin to live this way are we going to be able to lead others into that abundance. At the cornerstone of this abundance is Christ in whom “we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28, NRSV)
It is Christ and Christ’s Spirit that allows us to look at the world through the lenses of the grace that has forgiven, restored, and transformed us. This grace is truly abundant, overflowing, spilling out, more than we need or deserve. It is both overwhelming and humbling.
Out of this abundance of grace, we encounter the other–neighbor, friend, and foe–and are able to extend that same openness, that same space, and that same love. This grace also allows us to be grace-filled in the midst of disappointment, difference, position, or preference.
When we find ourselves growing in anxiety, fear, anger, frustration, and despair towards others and ourselves we must ask if we are rooting ourselves in scarcity. What is at the core of those emotional responses? Why are we tempted to respond in ways that do not model the way of Jesus in how we respond, treat, and engage? How can we center ourselves, listen to the other, and graciously express our opinion, a point of view, or frustration?
Asking ourselves this questions begins to make room for abundance to guide us. Our eyes begin to be opened to our continual need for grace and we begin to seek others, to hear their stories, and attempt to live life alongside them so that we can better walk together. We might still disagree, we might still see situations differently, we might still struggle but living alongside provides for a redemptive position, for a space where mutual respect and acknowledgement of our identity as God’s child can guide us into life together.
This week I invite you to live out of the grace given to you. I ask you to pay attention to what God might be up to around you, to the ways that you can be a participant in leading others into abundant life in Christ. This participation pushes us beyond our comfort zones into the healing, exorcising, feeding, and restoration of all people. Into living our baptismal promise:
Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you
to resist evil, injustice, and oppression
in whatever forms they present themselves?
Baptismal Covenant I, The United Methodist Hymnal
Into sharing the excitement of a God whose holiness–whose abundance–led to God becoming one of us so that we could know love. This way of engagement, this way of life, this way of faith could be our biggest witness to God’s amazing grace in our city and beyond!
“Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
Colossians 3:12, The Voice Bible
I can hear it now: “Grace Community, a community of abundance . . .” I cannot wait to see you next weekend as we continue to do talk together about Quality Control: What Shreveport Needs from Us.