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Clergy View-May 30

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lifestyles Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

If you have Jesus in your heart, notify your face! It was a bumper sticker. I saw it years ago. I don’t always remember it.

This week in our scripture we read about our role in revealing God’s love in the same way Jesus revealed God’s love to his followers. This task is handed to the apostles, ambassadors of the Good News . . . to leave off staring at the heavens and to march into the world with their hearts full of heaven! And off they went into a world that would largely reject their claims that God loves us no matter what we do and that eternal heaven is already breaking in to the material world.

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For their efforts some were imprisoned, some put to death and some seemed to disappear. And yet, the notion that God came into the world not to condemn the world but to save it has staggered through human history and remains a force with which to be reckoned.

Of course, from the very beginning, we haven’t agreed on what it means to follow the ways of Jesus. Some of us hold faster to judgment than to redemption. Some of us hold tighter to guilt than to forgiveness. Some of us hold more precious our silver and stained-glass than our left-out and last. There have been huge sections of human history when the followers have been more oppressive and violent than welcoming and comforting. There have also been amazing movements of the Spirit as epidemics have been addressed head on, pestilence and disasters have inspired waves of generosity and relief. The followers living up to the heavenly expectations of freeing the oppressed, binding the injured, visiting the imprisoned. Isaiah’s prophetic description fulfilled in a humble carpenter’s son.

And the same directive given to the ambassadors of the Good News continues through the ages — “Almighty God give them all you have given me” — and we receive it. We have received it from those who have received it who received from those who received it...and on and on. A long line of revelation of the true nature of our Divine Creator: Love – no matter how weak we are, no matter how fearful we get, no matter how aggressive we can be – we are loved and we are charged with spreading that love. God, Holy Spirit, Christ is carried forward in our hearts! Open them! And notify your face!

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