Friday, June 15, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

CALLED TO INTERCEDE
Genesis 18: 23-33
Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?" He answered, "For the sake often, I will not destroy it." (Genesis 18:23)
A deep concern for neighbors:
Abraham takes a bold initiative to plead with God for the forgiveness and mercy for the despicable people of Sodom and Gomorrah. This is the first example of a humorous, step by step bargain-riddled, negotiation or intercession in the Bible. Through obedience and hospitality Abraham received an intimacy with God to enjoy friendship and freedom. This helped him to care for others. In the frankness and transparency of Abraham's relationship with God he was able to question the very essence of a just and righteous God. Abraham is not seeking his own deliverance. His concern is totally other-centered. But why did he stop with ten righteous people? Few just people have the potential to provide 'herd immunity' to others in the society. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa are examples of this. But this story comes alive for us in Jesus.
Abraham's alien righteousness: Abraham is endowed with a high moral authority. Where did it come from? It came from his intimate relationship with God. As Christians, we carry a burden for others through our intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Without Christ there is discord between God and man and between man and man. St. Paul says that 'Jesus Christ is our peace' (Ephesians 2:14). When we realize how merciful God is to us, then we learn to be merciful to others. "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God" (Romans 15:7). Our moral authority for intercession comes entirely from our faith in the justification of man by grace alone; this is indeed the source of our desire to stand in the 'gap' for someone else's need. Jesus answered the question once for all, 'Who will stand in the gap?' It is easy to pray for ourselves, but God wants us to go beyond that as Abraham did. Evil is all around us, God calls us to be holy people set apart with a burden to bring comfort for others.
A ministry that never ends: Intercession is much more than a one-time event by which a conflict is resolved. There is not a moment in our lives without the need for mediation and intercessory prayers. My mother was blessed with this ministry. God gave us the ministry of intercession through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. It is a ministry that never ends.
Prayer:
Dear Lord, please give us your grace to stand in the gap and intercede for those in need. Amen

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Prayer is inviting God to work in our daily realities.

Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church