Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Second Letter to the Holy Ones

I write this letter to you as one as a prisoner of Jesus Christ, on your behalf.
I write it to you the Holy Ones who continue in the faith of Jesus Christ.

          I am caught, locked up, imprisoned, by a vision I had.
I peered into God’s throne room and was thrown down by what I saw
… I saw the truth of it, the ultimate mystery of the universe found in Christ
—I had spent so much time fighting it, following that feeling that God created a nice clear line between who is in, and who is out,
but I came face to face with the resolution, the answer to, a great mystery—a mystery that had spun out for generations, was hinted at, but only now has been weaved into a coherent whole
—I know I’m building this up too much for you
—building up your anticipation and excitement…
after all this truth may even seem rather mundane to you today,
after all it is has been preached by the apostles since the beginning… it is baked into what it means to be the church…
 yet it is the very center of the meaning of life…
It is this, when I peered into the throne room of God, I saw all of humanity knit together into one body.
Because of Jesus we are co-heirs, co-members, co-partners in the Gospel
We are fellow-inheritors, fellows in a single body, and fellow participants in Jesus Christ and his Gospel.
          That’s what I’m captured by, always stirred forward to preach to those who seem to be left out of God’s good news. They too are given the Kingdom, they too are inheritors of the overflowing riches of Christ.
          And don’t you know, this great heavenly truth—that we are one. It is our possession, but only if we give it away. Give it away to everyone…
everyone, even to the powers and principalities—all those things in this world that are bigger than any one person.
          At your baptism you renounce Sin, Death, and the Devil, you renounce all the powers that defy God
—those are who I’m talking about—the hosts of hell, fate and addictions, guardian angels and grief-inducing evils
—all of it shakes and repents when you are one… unity in Christ calls the whole world to be what it ought to be
—makes it good
…a Church that makes no distinction between peoples, that affirms all are one with both our lips and our deeds
—it transforms the demonic into the angelic, the evil into the enlightened, it allows us all to become who we are called to be in Christ.
All that is, seen and unseen, find redemption in that truth!

          I promise you this is no cake walk, it is nothing except a long hard slog, but it is faithful.
It is why I continue on in the face of afflictions—someone took a pair of hand cuffs and cuffed me to the gracious truth that through Christ all are one—I’ve been drug across the whole Roman Empire, always attached to this truth, and you might think my hand would chafe where those fetters have been attached, but it continues to be grace—grace all the way through—this transformative truth that I can’t help but follow after—I pray and thank God for it!

          I bow down in thanks, praying before God, the parent of every tribe and nation and people and family everywhere, from the heights of heaven on down to the depts of earth… We are all God’s Children!
          I pray that you all draw strength from the storehouse of God’s glory through the Spirit—by that I mean, I hope you always find your grounding in love, that you trust Christ in such a way that you know he always dwells with you.
          I pray that you know, that all holy-folk know, the immeasurable love of God
—it is the Temple in which God dwells,
our love of one another grounded in the unity we find in Christ, is God’s temple….
It is immeasurably wide and long and high and low
—this love is beyond my comprehension, and beyond yours as well (isn’t it funny I pray you will know the unknowable?) And yet I pray,
I pray that you all might be filled with it, with the Love of God, for surely it will overflow!
          Now, to the one who, by the power at work in us, is able to accomplish more than we could ever dream, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.