Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The list of grace

Now, this is what the Lord says, the one who created you, O Jacob, and formed you, O Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you. I call you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1 (NET)

In the early 1980’s, a situation comedy, Night Court, aired on television. The leading character, Judge Harry Stone, was an unconventional judge who presided over a circuit court that was held at night. In the very first episode, Judge Stone described how he was appointed judge. It seems that on a Sunday evening, which was the last day that the mayor of New York was in office, he needed to appoint a judge. The mayor had a list of 1000 candidates, and he began calling each name on the list, but nobody answered. Finally, the mayor called the last name on the list, which was Harry Stone, and Harry answered the phone. It seems that the most unlikely candidate for judge won the appointment because he was home and answered the phone.

However, Harry makes a point that is worth thinking about. He said: “You know, my name was at the bottom of that list of prospective judges because I haven’t had much experience really. But, every candidate goes through a screening process, and whatever anybody thinks of that list, I was on it.”

The point is not that Harry was at the bottom of the list and answered the phone—the point is that Harry was on the list and answered the phone. He was qualified for the appointment, no matter how the appointment came about. This is a wonderful analogy for God’s saving grace. Christ died on the cross for all of us. We are all qualified to be on the list because God personally wrote all of our names on the list with the blood of His own son. God calls each of us by name—each and every one of us—to an eternal appointment, but it is up to us to answer the call.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Rooted in Christ

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:6-8 (NRSV)

The longer we do something, the more attached we become to that which we do. For example, it is easier to move into a new home if we have lived in our former home for only a year. If we have lived in our former home for 40 years, there is 40 years of living that must be dealt with. Not only are our belongings hard to part with, but our living in the home has created memories and emotions that are attached to the trappings of the home.

In the passage of scripture above, our lives must be attached to Christ by living each moment and each day in communion with Him. This is the way that we become rooted in Christ. Each small increment of faith and thanksgiving allows our roots in Christ to grow deeper and wider until the world has very little effect on us.

Our Christian walk takes time. In fact, it takes our whole lives. It is our walk that allows our roots to grow firmly in Christ, and each moment, each step and each memory helps us to build a lasting relationship with the Lord.