Have you ever learned a lesson about something small and inconsequential playing an important part in the larger picture?
I am sure many of us can tell a story like this.
When we suddenly have a realization something is potentially going to cost us, whether it is in resources, time or money. Hopefully, we find out there is a simple solution to keeping everything moving smoothly.
At St. Paul’s we have been in a larger conversation about our mission and how we choose to talk about it in terms of Living, Learning and Loving. This Sunday we are going to finish up the series and talk about Loving. We use the term to describe our mission, outreach and evangelism.
We are part of God’s work in our world.
I don’t think anyone would argue with that.
The great privilege we have been given as God’s people is participating in what he is doing. This has been going on since the beginning. We start our discussion with God’s covenant to Isaac, the son of Abraham.
The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt, but do as I tell you. Live here as a foreigner in this land, and I will be with you and bless you. I hereby confirm that I will give all these lands to you and your descendants, just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your father. I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars of the sky, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. Genesis 26:2-4 (NLT)
We can look at this passage and get plenty of warm fuzzies. It sounds nice-but there is another story being told.
The basic definition of “nations” in the Old Testament is a definition of distinct barrier. Nation means not us. This prophecy isn’t as appealing as read it in our current world. God is telling Isaac his blessing will be reaching out to the people he is different from, not necessarily his own people or ancestors. It will even be given to his enemies. Blessing is defined not by what Isaac and his family will have but rather by what they will do.
Let’s go forward in scripture to see how this ultimately will play out.
I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Revelation 21:22-27
Here we find our nations again. And even here we still see them defined as the “not us”. Funny thing, they are even seen in Revelation as more viotile as in Genesis. Just a few chapters back these kinds and nations are warring against the Lamb (Christ). But we find salvation offered to all. John isn’t talking about universalism. He is talking about the availability of God to all people.
So here we begin a conversation about mission. It’s much bigger than us and it is not done in bits and pieces. Our participation in God’s mission is a daily activity.
What we do every day matters more than what we do once in awhile.
So come and worship this Sunday. We have some awesome things going on (3 baptisms!). Come and hear about what it looks like to live this life of mission.
What is a sermon preview?
Sermon previews are released on Friday’s. They are to give YOU a short glimpse of what the conversation is going to be like on Sunday morning. On Monday, the preview is updated with some discussion questions, scripture guide and an mp3 of the sermon. I do these for 2 reasons. The first is so God can continue working in your life throughout the week. The second is for you to share this with a friend. I invite and encourage you to share the preview on Facebook/Twitter and through email.