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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Today’s Reading | 2 Corinthians 5:17–21

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (NRSV)

Paul reminds us that we are obligated to not only live in the manner taught by Christ, but also to share that experience with people we encounter. We have a responsibility to reveal to others the profound transformation that occurs when we check our distrust, prejudice, and life wounds at the door and walk in to meet Christ. We have been offered redemption, and we must pay it forward through our own ministry. There’s a saying “Service is the rent we pay for a room on earth.” So, too, our “rent,” as beneficiaries of God’s love and reconciliation, is to act as ambassadors for Christ. But it isn’t always easy.

Do you know that feeling that moves into a conversation when you bring up “God” or “Jesus Christ” or “Lord”? Not just some vague reference to “A Higher Power.” I’m talking about revealing yourself openly as a Christian. Who hasn’t experienced the apprehensiveness that settles in when you unexpectedly mention God or Christ during a conversation. People become quieter, stare at their water glasses, or glance around to see who else is listening. But, thankfully, once in a while, a person gives you a smile that says, “I hear you! Let’s talk more about this when everyone isn’t staring at us!”

It feels risky sometimes to speak about your faith with people who may not share it. So how can we do what Paul asks of us? How can we share our experience about God’s unconditional offer of transformation and salvation, so that we each may live a life in which “everything old has passed away” and “everything has become new”?

We just do it. There is no instruction manual. And no merit badges. We share God’s promise whenever we can, because paying it forward through our ministry is the rent due for experiencing transformation and reconciliation through Christ.

God, thank you for entrusting us with the mission of sharing your message to those who wait, hope, or fight for a new beginning, a new day to make it right. Give us the courage to reveal our own accounts of despair, surrender, and redemption through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Written by Laura Liu, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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