Phote by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash. Used with permission.
Paragraphs 1-6: Preamble (April 11-29)
Paragraphs 7-12: Creation (April 30-May 8)
Paragraphs 13-17: Fall (May 11-15)
Paragraphs 18-22:Redemption (May 18-22)
Paragraphs 23-27: Jesus Christ
Paragraphs 28-30: Holy Spirit
Jesus' final words to his disiples was that they should be his witnesses "in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). This story in Acts 8 tells of the very first place the gospel went after Samaria: Ethiopia. Just yesterday I heard T.D. Jakes, in a video which Peggy shared entitled "The Church & Race Featuring Leading Voices of the Church," making this point from this passage: how the 2000 year experience of African Christianity must dispel any notion of a "white Jesus." On the contrary, the consistent message of the Bible is that all people, regardless of divisive societal constructs, are called to humility because God saves us all in the same manner. Bernadette, in response to yesterday's post, points us to Acts 15:9—because we have all been saved by faith, the differences between us are irrelevant. "Then what becomes of boasting?" Paul asks. "It is excluded" (Rom. 3:27).
The other thing Paragraph 32 reminds us is that Scripture is a "tool" of God's redeeming work. We acknowledge with shame that Scripture has, and is, also used as a tool to deny that others are made the image of God just as we are, or to build and support systems that perpetuate injustice. Of this we repent.
"Lord, we thank you for your word in the Bible, and what it tells us of your salvation in Jesus. May we only, ever, use it as a tool of your redemptive work. Our souls ache to know that it has been used to repress others. Help us to share your good news freely as we have received it freely."
PS - The pastor's office will be open Wednesday from 11am - noon and 1 - 2 pm.