Yes, I knew I was taking a big chance encouraging parishioners to talk about how God had been active in their lives over the past week. Yes, I knew that some did not like the idea of sharing with others His sovereign hand at work in their lives. Yes, I knew that some did not want people to think them strange or weird or different for thinking that God had acted. But, we are Christians called together in worship. We are called together to remind one another that God is at work every bit as He was in the days of David & Solomon or any other time in history. Sometimes, we need to be reminded that His work is personal, that it affects people we know and love, that He has shown his power the power of His works, not only in the cross and resurrection, but in our lives! And those sharings, particularly in dark times, can remind other Christians of His promises. The treasures of our faith are not meant to be hidden. They are meant to be shared with others for His glory!
Had I had a lot more time, I might have better developed the idea where that sharing came from. Consider Jesus’ words that “those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.” Clearly, the word abide is very important to John, as is eating and drinking. John will pick up that abiding and its implication later in his Gospel (14:17, 15:4-7, 15:10, 17:21) and also in the letters. But here, in this little passage, John has a very specific message to us. As Adolph Schlatter summed up John, “What we have to do with his [Jesus’] flesh and blood is not chew and swallow, but that we recognize in his crucified body and poured out blood the ground of our life, that we hang our faith and hope on that body and blood and draw from there our thinking and our willing” (Das Evangelium nach Johannes, Erläuterungen 3:116) pg 95.
Put another way, all our hopes, all our futures, all our lives depend utterly and totally on Christ’s sacrifice and Resurrection. As people who eat His flesh and drink His blood, we recognize that we cannot save ourselves. However, God chose to redeem us rather than condemn us. And so He came down from heaven, died for us, and promised us eternal life and abiding presence with Him if we accept His offer. Our recognition of this kind of love, this kind of mercy, is liberating! Rather than feeling trapped by our failures, our insignificance, our impotence, and other shortcomings, we are called to remember that God loved us enough to save us. For some reason, the Creator of the universe loves each of us and acted to save us by dying for us! Talk about changing our perception of our own self-worth.
Better still, God reminds us that we are His ambassadors, His children by adoption, His heirs. And we are sent forth into the world to remind the world of His love and His mercy. What better way to do that than by sharing our stories with one another! Our collective stories remind us that we have worth before His eyes, that He deemed us worth saving, and that He is keeping His promises! When we see Him at work in our own lives, how much more excited an ambassador are we for Him? How much more do we begin to understand that He is abiding in us as we abide in Him? And so, we give thanks for His work on our behalf, and we encourage others to remember His inestimable love of them and that He wants that relationship with them! So, please, go ahead and share. How has God been at work in your life recently?