Sunday, July 15, 2018

The First Letter to the Holy Ones

I write this letter to you as a follower and witness of Jesus Christ.
I write it to you the Holy Ones who continue in the faith of Jesus Christ.

Grace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus, the Anointed, the Christ.
          I have heard there is a practice among you of reflecting on what you are thankful for before you receive the Holy Meal. It is in that same vein that I write this letter to you—surely the letter to the Holy Ones in Ephesus was a letter of thanksgiving, so is this.

I thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us beyond measure.
I thank God, that in the beginning, before the beginning, Christ was with God, holy and perfect, beloved from the start, and we are found in that love too!
I thank God, that we are the Savior’s siblings—that gives God pleasure—to be Parent of an uncountable plethora of children!
I thank God, that we who were caged up by Sin with a big S, have been bought out and brought out of captivity by God’s Beloved Boy, forgiven for everything, every last fault, failure, and foible—because God is gracious, God is generous with all his gifts.
I thank God, that the unthinkable has been thought, the great mystery revealed, that not only are we found in Christ, all of creation, from the tiniest quark and string of matter out beyond the reach of the universe in all its iterations—all of it is being gathered in God’s loving arms.
I thank God, that through Christ, who is always our hope, you have been weaved into God’s will, and live to praise him!
I thank God, that you’ve heard the good news and that you trust Jesus.
I thank God, that you’ve been marked with the promised Holy Spirit, she is your adoption papers, pointing to your redemption, that you are God’s own people—such a thing glorifies God!

I thank God unceasingly for all of you holy ones, and I pray incessantly for you all. I pray that you might more completely know the Lord, that the eyes of your heart might be wide open and you will be awake to the fullness of faith, which is Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and rule.
I thank God that all who claim power: be they earthly rulers, -isms and ideologies of all sorts, fates, follies, habits, addictions, and even demons—that their kingdoms are done
—the Kingdom of God, the Rule of Heaven, is everywhere and always! We holy ones who gather together, who are Christ’s body, do we not pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done”? I thank God that it is and shall be so!
I thank God, for the life you now live, for at one time you were under the deadly powers of all those vicious things that defy God, but through God’s rich mercy and great love, even the death of Christ, you now live—raised with him, even seated with him, so all of creation might fully understand the extravagant kindness found in Christ.
I thank God, you are saved by grace through faith, not on account of your own gifts, but by the gift of God—our salvation is nothing less than the good work of Jesus Christ.

I thank God, that all dividing walls between peoples, all those doors slammed and locked, the clothe of our common humanity ripped in two—are bridged, unlocked, sewn back up—all those on the outside are brought in. We hopeless, godless strangers, all of us, are brought near by the blood of Christ.
I thank God that he is our peace!
I thank God that Christ has made two into one, and shattered all the walls that create hostility, all the laws that leave people out, he has fashioned a single new humanity out of our evil clangor and mess, making peace, reconciling irreconcilable people through the cross, putting to death hatred, animosity, and bitterness in his very body.
I thank God that we are no longer strangers and sojourners, but citizens with the saints and members of God’s household. I thank God for that household,
build upon the foundation of the earliest followers and witnesses to Jesus… Christ himself is the cornerstone and together we are growing and becoming a holy Temple in the Lord and a Holy Temple in which the Spirit of God dwells!
I thank God.