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Friday, August 14, 2015

Today’s Reading | 1 Corinthians 2:1–5

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. (NRSV)

A few years ago, I worked for a company that organized and conducted international summer trips for high school students. I had been hired based on my travel experience, professional work with youth, and my knowledge of Spanish. It was not an easy job to get, so when I showed up to our all-staff training weekend in Colorado, I was feeling pretty proud of myself. Then I met everyone else who had been hired. It quickly became clear to me that most of them were vastly more educated about language and international relations and travel than I was. And it was also made clear to me that my lack of knowledge and experience meant that I didn’t really belong.

In our world, this idea of achievement-based inclusion is pretty much status quo. Luckily for us (and for Paul and the other early Christians), Jesus didn’t operate under such a system. Jesus welcomed everyone with love—not based on their wisdom, power, or achievement, or even who they were. Instead, Jesus welcomed them in love because of who God is. Jesus came into this world as a little infant and grew into a man who first lived among outcasts and then died in weakness and pain precisely so that God could be present with us even in the darkest corners of life and in our seeming inadequacies.

Paul understood this intimately from his own life, and he seeks to remind other early Christians (and us) that the key to grace is not anything within us, but the immense love of God made known to us in Christ. That love claims us—all of us—in all that we are. It is in that boundless love that our faith rests.

God of love and grace, thank you for coming to us in Christ that we might feel your love for us in every corner of our life and in all that we are. Help us to try and love one another with the same grace you offer to each of us. Amen.

Written by Layton Williams, Pastoral Resident

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