Pastor Mark’s eNote-An Invitation to Experience the Ultimate in Gracious Living
No, I’m not selling real estate, though I suspect that if I were, the homes would be expensive. The mere mention of “gracious living,” after all, is enough to jack up property values. Gracious living implies beauty and substance. Gracious living requires a certain pace and space appropriate for entertaining, whether casually on the front porch or more formally in the dining room. Gracious living requires quality, and quality doesn’t come cheap.
But again, I’m not selling you a gated community. I’m not even offering a trip back in time to a simpler day. Instead, I want to offer you a way of life right here, right now in the midst of your days, in the realities of a changing world.
The gracious living I am offering does indeed involve beauty and substance, comfort and welcome, hospitality for friends and guests alike, but this lifestyle isn’t about lush lawns or water frontage. It’s all about the good news of Jesus Christ. It begins with the grace of God for all people and ends with a new kind of community defined by God’s own etiquette—a place where welcome awaits every person, where care is shared, where spirits are fed, and the life of Christ is embodied. The journey begins with strangers and ends with friends.
In his Letter to the Romans, Paul explains the ins and outs and origins of this gracious living. It begins with Jesus Christ and his life, death, and resurrection. In his humanity we are embraced; in his cross, our old selves die; and in his resurrection we are reborn. This is grace.
But wait, there’s more! The grace of Christ also makes possible nothing less than a new humanity and, ultimately, the redemption of the entire created order. This is big stuff; it’s the very power of creation. Yet, as big as the message is, it is also as “small” and intimate as how you and I treat each other in this world.
Paul believed that God’s grace—in all its eternal and transforming power—has a home in the world right now. That home is the church, a community built upon Christ’s grace and governed by the love that fulfills all law, a place where grace experienced becomes grace shared. You and I meet in that place every week. It is gracious living at its best.
For the next few Wednesday evenings, some of us will read together Paul’s Letter to the Romans and consider what it has to say to us right now. Arguably, there has been no more influential text in the history of the church, and it is to that text that we Christians return again and again to get our bearings and remember who we are.
I hope to see you this Wednesday, October 7, at 6:30 in the Rooftop. Just bring your Bible and, together, we’ll explore Paul’s words. No down payment is necessary and no credit check required, simply click here to sign up. The ultimate in gracious living is yours, free and clear.
Pastor Mark Westmoreland