WEDNESDAY’S WORD | 01.12.22

What a wonderful day today is! 

Have you given any thought to today? Yes, some of us may have gotten up with some moans and groans. I’m finding the older I get, I have to make noises when I move around. You know, like grunting when I get up from a seated position or out of bed. Groaning a bit as I change positions in bed, or when I have to bend over to pick something up off the floor. Yes, we have seen a huge uptick in Covid infections in Dallas County, so much so that we are in the Red category, ER’s are filling up, caregiver staffing is short because many of them are also sick. Yes, even at the church, out of an abundance of caution for the safety of all of us, we have shut down our in person worship opportunity. Yes, inflation seems to be plaguing our pocketbooks. Yes, the vitriol in the political sphere continues. Yes, we have a lot going on we could complain about. 

With all that’s going on, how can we realistically say, what a wonderful day it is? 

I want to direct our attention to the Apostle Paul. Paul had one of the most dramatic conversion stories we know of, he was literally knocked off his horse and blinded. At that time his name was Saul and he was persecuting the young movement of those following Jesus and Jesus’ teachings. Through conversion, the changed man became Paul, and became a promulgator of the Good News of Jesus Christ. He led missionary efforts and planted churches. He endured those pursuing his death, beatings with rods, stoning, shipwrecks, and finally martyrdom by being beheaded outside the walls of Rome. I would say, Paul went through some stuff, wouldn’t you? Paul never stopped believing he was blessed beyond measure with every day given him. He used his time as an opportunity to further the Good News to as many and as far as possible. 

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, we find a very mature theology being expressed by the apostle. Even though the letter comes first of all his writings in the New Testament, it is most likely one of his last letters. I’ve said that to say, what Paul writes is based on a life-time of thought and experience. Paul writes in Romans 3: 31-39… 

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, whocan be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up forus all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[a]

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Paul had a tough life. He certainly faced some of the harshest conditions to live through, a time when persecuting believers was sanctioned and promoted. I wonder if each day Paul awoke, he could say what a wonderful day it was? His mission was not for comfort, or safety, or security. His mission was to live each day as yet another opportunity to embody the true nature of Jesus. It was a wonderful day if he could share with someone else the love, the grace, the mercy, the forgiveness he had found in Jesus Christ. 

So, back to today. How can we see today as wonderful? We are blessed to have opened our eyes to another day. Just think about those who closed their eyes last night, and didn’t open them to see today. We are blessed to know God is with us in the good and bad times, in rejoicing and in sorrow. We are blessed to understand that whatever we confront today, cannot defeat us. Paul is saying to us, no matter what we may go through today, TODAY we are more than conquerers! Whatever we come up against, whatever we face, whatever we endure, we can know that God’s love is with us. 

I’m sure you’ve had some really lousy stuff to deal with in recent times, not to mention even now. I’m sure you could enumerate in full detail a whole list of what’s wrong today. Each of us could detail all the wrongs in our own lives, in our community, in our nation, and even in the world. The list would be lengthy and most likely right on point. When, however, we know that God for us is more than the whole world against us, we can have a whole other perspective. We can see today as a blessing, as a wonderful gift from God. We can see goodness to be accessed and proclaimed. When we see today as wonderful, we will see opportunities to be kind, to be caring, to be encouraging. When we see those opportunities, and live into them, today becomes wonderful for those we engage with. When today becomes wonderful for others, the idea of being blessed spreads far and wide. Then, no matter what we come up against, what we have to face or endure, it cannot break us or destroy us. We have become more than conquerers, and nothing truly can separate us from the love of God. 

I pray you and I can see today, and everyday, as a wonderful gift from God. I pray in this time, we will do all in our power to see goodness and to offer kindness in every place we go. 

Your fellow traveler on the Way,

Pastor Tom

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