Friday, November 1, 2013

Two promises for All Saints Day

Luke reminded us in his gospel that in order to follow Christ we must  - Love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who abuse us.  That is a tall order - very counter-cultural - and one that is (if we are honest with ourselves) sometimes very hard to follow.  The world around us tells us that we don't have to put up with bull from anyone - and it almost sounds like Jesus wants us to become victims.  But that is not at all what this means.  In this lesson, we are given a way to approach the world around us, and the unpleasant things that sometimes happen, with a positive attitude and gives us a response that keeps us connected to God and prevents us from being victimized.

In this life, we are not promised happiness, riches, health, love, or any other thing that many people desire in this life.  The promise we have from God is that regardless of what happens to us, regardless of what state we find ourselves in – God will be there with us!  That is his promise for this life – our life on earth.  God will be with us – to encourage us, to strengthen us, to comfort us, to fill us, to love us.  That is his promise for our life here on earth.  When we are going through tough times – when we are in pain, when we are alone, when we grieve, God is there with us.  He is there with us in both the good times and the bad times - because through the life and suffering of Jesus, he understands.  He laughs with us, he cries with us, he rejoices with us, and he grieves with us.  He is there to share with us.  We don’t see him, but we can feel his presence.  His Spirit lives within us and we are never alone.

God's first promise to us is that in this life, God will be will us - we will never be alone.   The second promise that is given to us is this… in death, we will be with God.  In Genesis we are told that we are made in the image of God and when the "ruah," the breath of God was breathed into us, Spirit of God came to live within us.  We are connected, now and always.