God’s Promise

17 Aug

Facebook-20150814-032732 (2)This photo was taken at Garfield UMC Annual Fundraising Picnic (It is like a church supper – outside).  These boys are wonderful, with great parents, and they are my acolytes at church; and inheritors of the promise that God gave to Abraham.

In this section of Paul’s argument of why everyone is included in the promise of being-set-right-with-God is that it is about relationships and not rules.  Abraham, God’s first relationship, was made before the sign of circumcisions sealed the promise.   And it was done by God’s power, not Abraham’s ability.

As Christians, we take of this for granted, that everyone is invited to accept God’s promise/relationship.   But, for me, as a United Methodist, it goes a step further.  I believe we are in relationship with God, whether we know it or not.  That the relationship has been forged for us by the life and death of Jesus Christ.  And that all of us, as inheritors of the promise are family together.  Just as these two brothers are individuals, they are related to each other (and just about everyone in the church!)  So, it is with those who are on this earth.  They are children of God, sealed by Christ, and live in the same Spirit of God.  Some do it with awareness of that relationship, so are not aware, Some name it as Christianity and some give it other names.  For me there is limitless possibilities of how the promise of the Divine is lived out.

12 And it means further that Abraham is father of all people who embrace what God does for them while they are still on the “outs” with God, as yet unidentified as God’s, in an “uncircumcised” condition. It is precisely these people in this condition who are called “set right by God and with God”! Abraham is also, of course, father of those who have undergone the religious rite of circumcision not just because of the ritual but because they were willing to live in the risky faith-embrace of God’s action for them, the way Abraham lived long before he was marked by circumcision.

13-15 That famous promise God gave Abraham—that he and his children would possess the earth—was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God’s decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed. If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That’s not a holy promise; that’s a business deal. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise—and God’s promise at that—you can’t break it.

God’s promise, like a parent’s love, like the relationship of family, is a given in our world.  And blessing upon blessing, it does not depend upon us, but it completely in the care of the Eternal steadfast love for all that is created.  Peace

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