2 Corinthians 5:16-21 MSG
“Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.”
When we lived in Lancaster, PA, one of my favorite activities was going to the First Fridays event downtown. We always had a wonderful time. People from all walks of life gathered together and listened to great music. The diverse population came to enjoy the restaurants, antique stores, street performers and musicians. People came and enjoyed the event side by side. In many other places and on many other days people were judged and evaluated by their looks, occupation, economic status and racial background, but on First Friday people were people sharing this time together.
Today's Scripture reminds us that during the time of Jesus people were also judged just like us. The people of his hometown thought he couldn't be the Messiah or some great healer or teacher because he was just the kid from down the street -- Mary and Joseph's son. However, eventually people saw him for who he is -- our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.
We are reminded that when we come together and unite as followers of Jesus Christ, we have Christ in common. In our relationship with Christ, we learn that we are also joined together with our fellow believers, for in Him our differences become less so. We are connected together through our ties as children of God. Being a child of God means the life is never as good as when we live into our calling and following God's path for our lives.
Watching people who couldn't get along join in conversation, reflection and singing bring joy to our face and to God's. God deeply seeks time with us in prayer, meditation and action. God also calls us to live together, sharing our brokenness and seeking forgiveness from God and each other. In such discussions as these does accountability yield unity. We wonder how life went on as long as it did with us living into our brokenness and expectations that are never fulfilled.
Still God reaches out to us heart to heart and calls us to live faithfully into God's blessings for friendship, fellowship, and forgiveness. Together these three show us how to love and be loved as we are united in Christ.
Prayer: Lord, remind us that you are our God and we love you. Help us to choose life over death, and peace over conflict. May our lives reflect your call to us and our faithful response.
Rev. Laura C. Kelsey, Author
Rev. Kelsey is proud to pastor the First Presbyterian Church of Pontiac, MI. Together with the faithful and loving worshipping community at FPC. she enjoys sharing God's Word with others, working to help folks experience God's love and discern their direction in life, and lovingly reach out to the greater Pontiac community.