Sunday, June 25, 2017

God's Energy, Power and Strength within Ourselves

In his book “Nine Essential Things I've Learned about Life” Rabbi Harold Kushner recounts a sermon he gave on the subject of forgiveness. He suggested that just as we ask God to forgive our wrongdoings, so we should forgive people who have wronged us.

Anger and self-pity are “demons” that displace peace and joy in our lives.  But with gratitude to God for our blessings, we can “exorcise” or drive out the demons of anger and self-pity that rob us of joy and peace. By asking God's mercy and forgiveness for ourselves and people who have wronged us, we can make a fresh start.

The Energy of God Within Ourselves
That is what Paul is about today: through Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit we have a fresh start, a new beginning. In his letter to the Christian community at Rome, he reflects upon the human condition; everywhere he sees violence, death and injustice. We fell from grace, so proclaims the Book of Genesis. But who can save us, Paul asks? Jesus Christ, of course. Jesus Christ lives. And because he lives, we live in relationship with God. But how are we nurturing that relationship?

The word of God also carries us back to the 7th century before Jesus. Jeremiah complains: “I'm trying to do what you want me to do, God, and yet people are slandering me; they want to murder me; trip me up.” But Jeremiah doesn't let these problems stop him from continuing his prophetic mission. He will always trust in God.

In the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus says: “do not be afraid.”  Do not be afraid, e. g., to do the right thing. Because God is with us. We have the energy of God within us.

How often do we hear that the world is running out of energy: oil, coal, gas and so on. How do we ensure sufficient energy to sustain life?

All of us face a similar problem on a spiritual level. We face challenges. Where do we look for the energy to overcome them? Do we look “above” to the risen Christ, the Sun of Righteousness?

God, through Jesus Christ by the Spirit, has given us his energy, power and strength. We rightly think of power belonging to God. Yet we easily forget that the same energy and power and strength that raised Jesus Christ from the dead now lives in us. That energy and power  and strength in the apostles fired up a revolution heard ‘round the world. And the age of miracles is not over. The proof?  An electrician in Poland, a prisoner in South Africa, a nun in Calcutta--Walesa, Mandela, Teresa—freed people from Soviet occupation, gave back to people their fundamental human rights, and restored to suffering and dying people their dignity as human beings made in the likeness of God.

That energy and power and strength of God within us can fire us up to do the right thing despite the obstacles and challenges we face.

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