Going Deeper 1/10/19

The second reading for Epiphany 1...
Acts 8:14-17   Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.  The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit (for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus).  Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

The spread of the Gospel to the Samaritans was a huge movement in the birth of the Church.  Suddenly, God's Kingdom was to be seen as inclusive rather than exclusive.  As we heard last week, Paul describes this as a profound mystery.  God's love extended even to the Gentiles.

This is to be seen as an outcome of faith, that we no longer look at the world as being comprised of "insiders" and "outsiders."  Those on the inside of the Kingdom of God are to understand that we are there only by the grace of God, and not because of any merit or worthiness on our part.  We are not on the inside because of our gender, ethnicity, denominational affiliation, or nationality.  We are not insiders because of how good (relatively) we are, but because of the goodness of God.

Paul also wrote that in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not holding their sins against them.  And in reconciling the world to Himself, God seeks to reconcile people with one another, to restore the awareness of community and mutual responsibility, to inspire and empower His children to become increasingly outward-focused and decreasingly self-centered.

This is what we call love!  This love is a gift from God, stirred and strengthened within us by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Let us seek this Spirit.  Let us seek this love.

With You in His Love,
Mark

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