I'm sorry to say that it has been another rough and violent week. No, I'm more than sorry - I'm sad. No, I'm more than sad - I'm disgusted. No I'm more than disgusted - I'm helpless. I confess that I may not be the best pastor this week. As a pastor, I'm expected to preach messages of the grace of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit, present a message of hope for the people. How so, when there is so much hate, racism, quick trigger fingers, terrorism and destruction around us? How so?
How does one preach a message of grace to a world that doesn't deserve it? How do I even allow myself to feel God's grace in the midst of my own disgust and helplessness?
A world that continues to say that lives of people of color don't matter is not deserving of the grace of God. A world that repeatedly tells the poor that they are responsible for the mess they are in, and offers no help is not deserving of the grace of God. A world where violence, and not love is the preferred response to hate is not deserving of the grace of God. A world where the gun is the final judgment for too many people is not deserving of the grace of God.
It is so hard to preach a gospel of grace, of love, of forgiveness, of abundant life in the face of a culture that seems to prefer death.
"For this reason it depends on faith"
Grace is not mine to give to those who I deem worthy. Grace is not mine to withhold from those who don't meet certain conditions. Grace is not mine to hold as a weapon against the guilty. Grace is not mine to choose who receives and who is beyond its power.
The promise of grace comes from God alone - to an undeserving world. In spite of all the hate that the world can muster. In spite of all the ways in which we mistreat people that look differently from ourselves. In spite of all the fear-based decisions that snuff out the lives of God's children, we are not beyond the power of grace.
I don't exactly know how this message will come from my words this week, but thank God that it depends on faith, even for this most undeserving of pastors.
Welcome to The Soul Cafe, a place for gathering, for learning and for conversation.
We invite you to join us as we study and discuss how God reveals himself to us in the Bible and in our lives.
Please read our blog, share our devotions and join the conversation.
About this website
Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church (GA) in New York City has been chosen as one of eight internship congregations to participate this year in a church-wide initiative designed to increase our understanding of Holy Scripture and most importantly, to cultivate our engagement with it. In partnership with The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Vicar John Heidgerd will be working to develop innovative ways to deepen our faith formation and sense of discipleship for the sake of ourselves and our communities.