Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Winter's Teachings

Finally, ‘spring is bustin’ out all over’!  And you can hear a collective sigh of relief.  For this winter--with its frigid, dark days, slick snow and treacherous ice—certainly taxed our patience, optimism, and resources to the limit.  The American humorist Garrison Keillor is fond of saying, “Winter tells us who we are as a people” So what do we know about ourselves as Christians from this winter just past?

This winter showed us to be a compassionate people. We answered the call of this difficult season to be a hospitable people: caring for those in trying circumstances.We continued to live up to our reputation as a generous people, freely giving time, effort, and energy to meet unexpected needs. These challenging economic times have found us working to be good stewards of our resources. And, most of all, the uncertainties of the season just past revealed us to be resilient people, mostly able to ‘go with the flow’, make the best of what was at hand,  and keep the larger goals in view.

The early Christians came from many walks of life:  business, the trades, merchants, farmers, even slaves. When they became followers of Christ, the wider society often discounted their influence and contributions, considering them such ‘peculiar people’ because of their beliefs and practices.

 When the elderly apostle Peter wrote his letters to Christians who felt unimportant in their time, he described their true identity:
  “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
      a holy nation, God’s own people,
      in order that you may proclaim the
                mighty acts of Him who called you
      out of darkness into His marvelous light.”   (I Peter 2.9)

Peter is declaring who these followers of Jesus truly are:  beloved people of God, called and prepared for a purpose. He encourages them to fulfill their God-given identity instead of accepting others’ opinion. He urges them to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” so they will know what kind of people to be:  loving, trusting, hopeful, patient, joyful, welcoming, and humble servants of God.   

It was not easy to be a disciple of Jesus in the 1st century, nor is it easy in the 21st century.  We always need to remember who we truly are—more than employees, parents, Americans, ‘boomers’ or Gen X-ers—as men and women whom God has put in this particular time and place and given a specific assignment. Whatever the details of that assignment, our goal is to live as people of the Resurrection who show the world the God we serve.

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