… that your people may shine with the radiance of Christ‘s glory … is one of two core phrases in Sunday’s collect for the day and Paul’s line as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ… are connecting as I wander through this week’s sermon prep process. In making the connection I realize I have changed the tense of both phrases, from future to present. I.e. Jesus is already being revealed, and we are already shining with the radiance of Christ glory.
However, there is more to it. I also know we are very good at covering up radiance, and hiding revelation. Perhaps it frightens us, or is inconvenient, or we don’t think we are worthy. It may be that it is the wrong person, who shares the image of God we all bear; someone who’s gay, or the wrong nationality or race or religious conviction; someone we don’t believe is worthy of being an image of God.
Such thinking is wrong on both counts. God created us (male and female) in God’s image. [i] Yes, we, humanity, broke the bond of that relationship; however, Christian faith is God redeemed it via the ministry of Jesus. Is there work to be done? Yes. But it is not the work of redemption that has been accomplished. It is the work of acceptance and sharing, the work of evangelism. Redemption is complete, evangelism not yet. This week David Lose shares 3 step evangelism: notice, share and invite. [ii] Notice the Divine presence in life, ours and others; share what we notice within our faith community, then invite others to join in.
In ending I’ll go back to Paul’s beginning. I thank God… for it is not mine, nor yours nor anyone else’s efforts or presence or skill or insight or gift that’s efficacious, whatever we have (or not) is of God and for that I am thankful, thankful enough to share it, even with a stranger. Or at least I should be.
[i] Genesis 1:27
[ii] David Lose, Craft of Preaching, Notice, Share, Invite, January 19, 2014, WorkingPreacher.org