Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Church: A Purposefully Interceding Community
1 Peter 4:7-15
Vs. 11 Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
Identifying a single purpose to Christian life on this earth isn't an easy task; God calls us to do and be many things during our lifetimes. We are stewards, friends, children, leaders, followers…but what is it that God wants for us?
We as a church are an interceding community – a fellowship that loves and prays for its members continuously. By the act of intercession, we are called to love each other without reservation, as God loves us. Intercession reminds us that we cannot live in community with whispered intolerance or misunderstanding; praying for our family is wiping the community clear of condemnation.  As an interceding community, we are to “love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. ” (1 Peter 4:8). When giving and receiving the Kiss of Peace every Sunday, we are purposefully declaring that we live in the love and peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Being lighted to lighten each other is fundamental in building our Church, but that light does not live in the church – it lives within us. The light of Jesus, living in us, is meant to be shined brightly before others (Matthew 5:16), not snuffed out at the church doors.
In 1 Peter 4:11 we read, “if anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” Peter distinguishes two broad categories of gifts: speaking and serving. Armed with both of these gifts, Christians are called to speak and be light. Each word we say is to be in accordance with what God himself would speak and every task we carry out is to be done with grace and patience. 
These gifts are not free; the responsibility that encompasses these gifts can be daunting and arduous. Being a light is cumbersome and a true test of patience, “but rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13). We are called to serve through God’s strength for a reason; we cannot do it alone. Inspiring those around us to recognize the full glory of God is not a one-man job. Our purpose is only fulfilled by God’s grace and love – the same grace and love we are called to show our fellow man.
Father, we praise you for your son Jesus, who taught us how to love. Thank you for your uninhibited love; may we see Jesus in the people whose paths we cross and may we be reminded to love them boldly, like you. We pray for the wisdom to discern what words to say, the strength to serve wholeheartedly, and the courage to live a life of praise. Reignite our fire today and everyday so we may see your work being done. Amen.
What would our universal church look like if we spoke, served, and praised like our Lord?  Take extra care to be someone’s light today.
Melanie John, Long Island MTC, NY
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church