29 Jan Sermon Snap Shot January 27, 2019
This story from Genesis 1, probably shared by elders around the campfire similar to how I just did it, was one of the foundational stories for the Israelites. In a polytheistic world, they were unique in their belief that they belonged to one God – the God above all other gods – who had created them and all of creation for good. Can you imagine how much comfort this story must have provided…how much this story must have helped center them when things were going wrong? “No…no…THAT’s not who we are…THIS is who we are!” We belong to God. We are made in God’s image. We were made for good, not for bad. And we are beautiful children of God, no matter what mistakes we have made and no matter what anyone else says!
I could make the case that the entirety of the Bible – from Genesis to Revelation – is about God’s ongoing, never-ending attempts to claim us…or reclaim us. In other words, it’s all about grace:
God makes one covenant with the Israelites…and then another…and then another. GRACE.
The Israelites are enslaved…so God sends a liberator. GRACE.
The Israelites need more structure, more concrete guidance…so God gives them the Law. GRACE.
The Israelites are tempted to forget who and whose they are…so God sends prophet after prophet after prophet to remind them, “No…No…not that…THIS!” GRACE.
And then, in the fullness of time, God takes the most gracious of grace-filled steps and comes to earth in the form of a human being named Jesus of Nazareth. Why? Because God loves the world so much that he comes to us, so that any and all who believe and trust in what God is doing in and through Jesus might be claimed…or reclaimed…forever. GRACE.
From Sunday,January 27 message based on Genesis 1 and John 3:16-17, “G.R.A.C.E. – God’s Grace Claims Us”
Pastor, Waters Edge UMC