St Paul exhorted the people of Ephesus – (Eph 5:5) This may be a wicked age, but your lives should redeem it.
I think that too often we apply the grace of God to ourselves and judgement of God to others. Being very aware of other’s faults and shortcomings and thinking that if “they” were just more like us – things would be better. Christ didn’t teach like that, St Paul didn’t teach like that and so I will not teach like that. We all need to strive to “Walk as Jesus walks and do as Jesus does,” we need to compare our own lives to that of the one whom we worship and change our ways (repent) so that we can be conformed to the likeness of Christ (Rom 8:29). Christ walked in humility, bringing reconciliation, healing and God News. Conviction is of God, condemnation is of the devil.
But how do we respond when the world around us is full of corruption and evil, do we just forgive and forget? No, we hold each other accountable, forgive, restore, rebuild, revive and receive God’s grace. Our lives are to be filled with compassion, standing up for the oppressed and weak, our lives are to be filled with Hope, looking past the negative around us and seeing the Salvation, that all creation groans in eager anticipation to receive. (Romans 8:22)
Our live in Christ must lead us to a new way of behaving, of living, not just a new way of thinking.
One thing that I challenge us as a community to do, is to match the Creed of our belief with the statement of intent of what we will do: – something like the following:
I believe in One God, creator of heaven and earth: therefore I will safeguard the integrity of creation by being an “earth keeper” and working hard in my local community to improve resource management and reduce environmental degradation;
I believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord: therefore, I will be obedient to Christ, serving Him, by reaching out to the lost, the lonely and oppressed, by participating in the churches Social Responsibility projects;
I believe in the Holy Spirit: therefore, I will seek to be guided in daily prayer and through scripture reading, by saying my daily office (Daily Prayer and Bible Reading);
I believe in the Holy catholic Church: therefore I will be a regular in worship and in supporting the work of the Diocese;
I believe in the communion of saints: therefore I will study the lives of those who have gone before me and apply what I have learned from them;
I believe in the forgiveness of sins: therefore, I will forgive those who have harmed me and proactively seek reconciliation.
I believe in the resurrection of the body: and so I will live a life dedicated to God and not for gain in this life, but for the purposed of God’s eternal Kingdom; (you need to decide on what sacrifice you will make and what your vocation is);
Therefore, because I believe, I will live as Jesus is leading me and walk in His way.
May God bless you, as you seek your vocation, your mission and your action.