You’re Not Alone

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February 18, 2014

You’re Not Alone ~~ William C. Green

Do you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. From 1 Corinthians 3:10-23

I was taught in Sunday School that it was wrong to smoke, drink, and do other bad things that violated my body because I was God’s temple, and you better be good there – which turned out to be better advice than not. But threats of something bad happening if you do wrong things are not reliable deterrents – otherwise we could couldn’t so easily acquiesce to our anger and resentment, or the destruction of the environment, or the invasion of other countries.

But as those examples suggest, being “God’s temple” is not just about you or me. It’s about us. The Greek word here for “you” is plural. Paul is addressing the congregation in Corinth. Good faith is never singular; it’s plural. It starts in relationship with others, and it grows from there – or collapses.

Weak faith often stems from weak relationships. We can feel cut off from anyone with whom we would freely share our own thoughts and be understood, or to whom we think we want to listen. This becomes a habitual predilection that undermines faith an dour sense of God. And it’s self-fulfilling.

In the spirit of Lent, anticipating new life in Christ, some of us may need to take a deep breath, pick up the phone or cross the room where others are gathered, and take the imitative ourselves. Sooner or later we’ll connect – or reconnect. That’s God’s Promise.

PRAYER: God, may I act more freely on my need for others and theirs for me. Together, may we grow in your spirit. Amen.

 

Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 53.

Not Once-Upon-A-Time, but Once-and-For-All

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January 7

Not Once-Upon-A-Time, but Once-and-For-All ~~ Martin B. Copenhaver

I for this life only  we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. From 1 Corinthians 15:19-28

As the Apostle Paul reflected, on the death and resurrection of Jesus, it became clear that this was not a once-upon-a-time story. Rather, he recognized that this was a once-and-for-all reality with implications that stretch farther than the eye can see and are larger than he mind can grasp fully. Jesus’ resurrection is such a transformative event that it is as if the world now rotates on a different axis.

Paul understood from the start that the resurrection was not simply about what happened to Jesus; it is about what happens to all who trust in Jesus, and about what can happen to all who claim his story as their own. The resurrection is not simply the assurance that Jesus was victorious over death; it is also a promise that we can share in that victory with him. The resurrection does not mean only that Jesus was triumphant over evil; it also assures us that evil will not be ultimately triumphant in our own lives.

Jesus is the “first fruits,” the initial harvest, of God’s grace. But that is not the end of it. Not by a long shot. The resurrection of Jesus ushers in and reveals a promise offered to all. Saint Jean Vianney said of Easter: “Today one grave is open, and from it ahs rise a sun which will never be obscured, which will never set, a sun which bestows new life.”

PRAYER: God, we thank you that the resurrection of Jesus is not merely a story to be heard, but also a reality in which we can share. Amen.

God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 8-9.