2 Mar

Good morning,

I wonder where the Christian church would be without Paul.  My New Testament professor at Boston University School of Theology said that every major reformation of the church had come for the writings of Paul.   And certainly he was a force that changed the direction of the early church from a reformation movement within Judaism to an inclusive faith community.  It is sad that we have worked at excluding people; skin color, income level, clothing; sexual orientation.   We find all kinds of reasons.

I identify with Paul in these first couple of verses.  I want to say these things to the people at my churches. You are doing wonderfully, yet I just feel compelled to talk about God, growing in God, sinking into the Divine Presence in each moment – I know I get redundant on the subject.

14-16 Personally, I’ve been completely satisfied with who you are and what you are doing. You seem to me to be well-motivated and well-instructed, quite capable of guiding and advising one another. So, my dear friends, don’t take my rather bold and blunt language as criticism. It’s not criticism. I’m simply underlining how very much I need your help in carrying out this highly focused assignment God gave me, this priestly and gospel work of serving the spiritual needs of the non-Jewish outsiders so they can be presented as an acceptable offering to God, made whole and holy by God’s Holy Spirit.

17-21 Looking back over what has been accomplished and what I have observed, I must say I am most pleased—in the context of Jesus, I’d even say proud, but only in that context. I have no interest in giving you a chatty account of my adventures, only the wondrously powerful and transformingly present words and deeds of Christ in me that triggered a believing response among the outsiders. In such ways I have trailblazed a preaching of the Message of Jesus all the way from Jerusalem far into northwestern Greece. This has all been pioneer work, bringing the Message only into those places where Jesus was not yet known and worshiped. My text has been,

Those who were never told of him—
    they’ll see him!
Those who’ve never heard of him—
    they’ll get the message!

Maybe you think their is no one around you who has not heard the good new of Jesus Christ and God’s love and concern toward all creation.  Then I guess we will just have to live in a holy way and without words convince those around us that there is an answer for their question, healing for their brokenness, hope for tomorrow.




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