November 11, 2018
Ephesians 2:1-10 | Taylor
It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
Communal Prayer for Generosity | Taylor
Lord I confess I spend too much time desperately trying to hold onto what I believe to be mine.
I confess that I am fooled into thinking that I am defined by what I have and what I do.
I confess that these hands do not reflect how you lived, and how I have experienced you.
Instead I choose to hold my hands open. I choose to receive from you and give to others today.
I choose generosity.
Benediction | Taylor
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, hard hearts, half-truths, and superficial relationships so that you may seek truth boldly and live from deep within your heart where God’s Spirit dwells.
May God bless you with anger: at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that we may reach out our hand in comfort and turn their pain into joy.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that through Jesus Christ we’ll have the strength and power necessary to create change in this world and in our neighborhood, so that together we will courageously try what others claim cannot be done.
May God bless you with remembrance that we are called to continue God’s redemptive work of love and healing in God’s place, in and through God’s name, in God’s Spirit, continually creating and breathing new life and grace into everything and everyone we touch. Amen.