Wasted on Jesus

In Matthew 26:6-13, a woman interrupted Jesus’ visit to Simon’s home by anointing him with oil.  She took an alabaster jar ‘f “Very expensive oil” and poured it on him while he was sitting at dinner.anointing Jesus

The disciples, Jesus’ closest and dearest, most committed followers, take offense. “Why this waste?” they asked.

Wasted on Jesus.

The perfume could have been sold, they continued, and the proceeds given to the poor.

Jesus’ disciples, his closest and most committed followers, felt that this extravagant gift had been wasted on Jesus.

The disciples were all about efficiency.  They weren’t a wealthy lot, and the had quickly picked up on Jesus passion for the poor.  They couldn’t stand that this expensive perfume had been wasted. On Jesus.

Yet Jesus, rather than applauding their penny-pinching, corrects them: “Why do you make trouble for this woman? She’s done a good thing for me.”

Now, I don’t know about you or your church, but we don’t have a lot of extra money lying around here.  We have a lot of generous people here willing to give to help the less fortunate.

Like most these days, we want the money we give to be used to the best, most-efficient purposes.  Some won’t give to general budget because they want every dime of their money to go to the cause; the efficient, don’t-pay-for-the-red-tape feet-on-the-ground need.Some of us want to see the financial reports that prove we aren’t wasting money.

But what if we are wasting it on Jesus?

I think it is significant that this passage appears in the chapter after Jesus teaches that giving to the poor is giving to him:

‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’ – Matthew 25:40

So, I believe, in giving to the poor we are giving to Jesus. But what, then, is the point of this story in Matthew 26?

Like  so much of our lives, and our issues, I believe it comes down to control.

The disciples, in the interest of efficiency, overlook the moment and the passion of the woman anointing Jesus.  They don’t grasp what is happening, or what it might mean to Jesus. And they think they can manage the moment and the gift better than the woman who is doing the giving.

Besides this being about the disciples’ concern over what someone else does, it is about their interest to control and direct resources. In this case, not even their own resources, but someone else’s.

They correctly caught that Jesus cared for the poor. But they misdiagnosed his care.  Jesus didn’t care for the poor as merely a matter of redistribution of resources.

Jesus cared for the poor out of a generous, sharing, giving heart.

Jesus knew, the Bible teaches, and modern research has proven, the power of generosity.

The woman anointing Jesus is not careful with her gift. She is lavish, extravagant, generous. Jesus is pleased and gracious in receiving her gift.

May you and I learn to model generosity more than concern for waste.

Wasted on Jesus

4 Fingers Pointing

Jesus’s disciples were his closest followers.

If anyone got it, they did. Sometimes they did, but sometimes they obviously didn’t.

Like in Matthew 26:8-9.  (Part of today’s reading in Euless First United Methodist Church’s GPS – Grow-Pray-Study guide)

Now when the disciples saw it they were angry and said, “Why this waste? This perfume could have been sold for a lot of money and given to the poor.”

What had happened to anger Jesus’ followers? A woman came to Jesus while he was sitting at dinner and poured an alabaster jar of “very expensive perfume” on his head.

Jesus’ followers can be masters of cost and efficiency, especially when they are looking at, and looking to criticize or condemn others.

You and I run the risk of being exactly the same way, whether or not we consider ourselves followers of Jesus. It is easy for us to criticize, even condemn the actions of others.

But Jesus didn’t accept the criticism.  Jesus didn’t agree that this woman was wasteful; he accepted her gift with grace and gratitude.

My parents taught me a long time ago that the danger of pointing a finger at someone else is that it leaves you with 4 fingers pointing back at yourself.

Reading this passage, I wonder if the disciples parents had taught them the same lesson.

It is so easy to point at others. Focus on their actions, deflect focus from yourself, from your own choices, failures, weaknesses, etc.

Jesus’ disciples would have been better off focusing on their own behavior rather than condemning someone else’s.

Jesus’ disciples are still better off focusing on our own behavior rather than condemning someone else.

Next time you catch yourself wanting to point out someone else’s behavior to Jesus, consider this lesson from Matthew 26:6-13.

4 Fingers Pointing

I “Like” the Bible!

I really like the Bible! Not just “like” as in I click on a thing is social media to share with the world, or at least those witch whom I am connected. No, I really actually like the Bible.


Except the parts that I don’t like.

Ok, well, this is a bit oversimplified.

I was reading Romans 10 earlier today, and, wow!  Roman’s 10 has some incredibly powerful stuff.  Salve for what hurts, you know?

Like this

There is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord is Lord of all, who gives richly to all who call on him. -Romans 10:12

But then I get to thinking about all the parts of the Bible that aren’t quite so clear and encouraging as that. Like this

But I say to you that everyone who is angry with their brother or sister will be in danger of judgment. If they say to their brother or sister, ‘You idiot,’ they will be in danger of being condemned by the governing council. And if they say, ‘You fool,’ they will be in danger of fiery hell. -Matthew 5:22

Ok, well, that’s perfectly clear, but not nearly so encouraging.

I suppose one could pick-and-choose which parts of the Bible are more important, or more valuable.  Some people (ahem) cut and paste – keeping the verses they like and cutting out – either literally or practically – the ones they don’t. Some have simply walked away from the Bible because it is hard to make it all jive together.

I learned in seminary that “scripture interprets scripture.” This means, without going deeply theological on you, that, since we (Christians) claim the entire book as authoritative and inspired, we wrestle with the more difficult parts in light of the less difficult parts.

I used the word “wrestle” intentionally.  Figuring out what God says to us in and through the Bible is a wrestling match.

And wrestling with God is in the Bible, too!

It is tempting to turn to the Bible as a mere instructional manual.  Some only want it for the stories.  I’m thinking they haven’t read many of those stories very closely, but that’s another post.

Whatever your relationship with the Bible, believe this:  God give richly to all who call on him. And this God who gives richly would rather wrestle with you over the meaning than have you walk away.

I “Like” the Bible!

Rob God?

Today’s reading is Malachi 3.  While this chapter is overflowing with substance for discussion and thought provocation, the part that always captures my attention is

Will anyone rob God?

In context, this question is about robbing God by denying the tithe. We rob God when we decline to participate in God’s ordained pattern of support for ministry and aid in fighting selfishness and materialism.

But is this the only way we rob God?

I was pondering this on the way to work this morning.  Stopped at a red light, I checked my mirror and reminded myself to be patient while waiting for the light to change.  The man driving the car behind me appeared similarly patient.

Pulling up next to me, in the left turn lane, were 2 young women, I believe heading to high school.  My mind wandered back to making those morning treks myself. As I began to think about all the different places people at this same red light might be going, I checked my mirror again, and heard a voice gently encourage me to pray for the man behind me.

I have no idea his destination or his story, but I know he is a man created in God’s image, and into whom God has breathed life.  I know God’s will for him, like for me and for everyone, is to bless him, and draw him into a good, healthy, and hopeful relationship with his creator.

So I prayed for these things for this man.

Then, as I prayed, Malachi 3 returned to me.

Do we rob God when we forget that others are created in God’s image as we are? Do we rob God when we fail to treat others as beloved of God, as people whom God wants to bless?

not robbing God

Rob God?

A Quiet Verse

About a month ago we started offering a GPS in our weekly worship guide.  GPS stands for “Grow, Pray, Study.”

Today’s scripture reading is Philippians 2.  I preached on a passage from this chapter yesterday, but today, reading the entire chapter, it got real for me as a reader and student of the bible, not just as a preacher.

This is what really caught me this morning: Philippians 2:13 says

God is the one who enables you both to want and to actually live out his good purposes.

I am stuck on this verse because at the moment it seems to me to unlock the very future of the church in the US!

Ask any pastor, and he or she will likely tell you that one of the greatest frustrations for pastors is the general cultural attitude most succinctly represented by this bumper sticker

The frustration is NOT that this doesn’t convey some truth about God’s grace. The frustration is that so many use this as a cop-out to miss out on the transformative power of God that is available with and by grace!

Sure, Christians aren’t perfect. Fine.  No argument.  But if you find yourself using this line as an excuse to refuse to change your behavior, that’s a problem.

If you claim the “Christians aren’t perfect” bit to fight learning to forgive others, that’s a problem.

If you throw down “Christians aren’t perfect” to justify the fact that you are no better a person, no more like Jesus, than you were a decade ago, that’s a problem.

This change God offers – God promises – is not on you!  It is on God, and God is stepping up to the plate.

And God will deliver. God will enable you both to want and to actually live out his good purposes!

Yes, you will have to make some changes, but God provides the lead and the power, the direction, and the ability.

And the God who offers this, provides this, is the God who made you and who breathed life into you.

Let this singular, quiet verse soak in for a while today, and see what God can do with it!

A Quiet Verse

If Grace Then…

The is the second sermon in our “If … Then” series for the month of September.


She takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name
It’s a name for a girl
It’s also a thought that
Changed the world

And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness
In everything

We ended last week with the invitation to respond to grace – to God’s grace – to God’s good will towards us.

How’d that go for you?

Did you respond to God’s grace this past week?

Because here’s the deal:  IF we are people of grace, then we must become people of grace!

IF we have received grace, then we will give grace away

Grace finds goodness in everything.

It seems like we are better and finding badness in everything.  Got a favorite political candidate?  I bet they’ve done something wrong sometime in their life….  I know: you are very familiar with what OTHER candidate’s wrongs and failures.  But yours is not perfect either.

But I’m not lamenting that all politicians are evil and suggesting we all throw up our hands and give up.

I am suggesting we learn to live by grace.

To put it in the simplest terms possible: IF we are people of grace, THEN we give grace away.

I know I have told you the story of the Dead Sea, but I’m going to tell it again.  Do you know why the Dead Sea is dead?  The Dead Sea is not dead because there is no water flowing into it. The Dead Sea is dead because nothing flows out of it.

We love grace. We sing about grace: amazing grace! “The wonderful grace of Jesus”!

But do we have grace flowing out of us?

If we have indeed experienced grace, then we have grace flowing out of us!

If we do not have grace flowing out of us, perhaps we ought to look into what is stopping it.

Some of us don’t actually let grace in in the first place

Some of us hold onto grace, saving it for ourselves, as though there is a limited quantity of grace available.

Some of us begin to think that God has charged us with choosing when, where, to whom, and how much grace to distribute.

I want to answer each of these 3, and I answer all three with this: If we have indeed experienced grace, then we have grace flowing out of us!

Some of us have been in church all our lives.  I actually didn’t grow up going to church every Sunday, but began doing so in high school and have never looked back. Some of you have even longer stories of being part of church than that.

Some of us are relatively new to this religion thing. Some found this church because they happened to be driving by noticed the building or the sign.  Some found this church through a friend.

Some found this church from the bottom of a hole, from the knot at the end of a rope they’d been clutching and were about to let go.

We might all say we have found grace, or grace has found us, but some of us mean it more than others.

Some of us have let grace in, some of us haven’t. If we let grace in, then grace begins its work in us.  Grace is wilder than a flood; it cannot be tamed.  If we let grace in, grace begins its work in us.

Jesus’ light metaphors are really helpful here: Besides saying that he is the light of the world (in John’s gospel, he tells his followers they are the light of the world), he says this in Luke 8

16 “No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand so that those who enter can see the light. 17  Nothing is hidden that won’t be exposed. Nor is anything concealed that won’t be made known and brought to the light. 18  Therefore, listen carefully. Those who have will receive more, but as for those who don’t have, even what they seem to have will be taken away from them.” (Luke 8:16-18)

Most of us, as good consumers, assume that when Jesus says something like “those who have will receive more,” he is talking about stuff. Things. Material possessions.

He is talking about grace. And mercy. And forgiveness. And hope.

Will you let grace in?  Will you open your life to the light of God’s grace, that it might begin the healing process in you? Remember: Grace finds goodness in everything.

Some of us hold onto grace, saving it for ourselves, as though there is a limited quantity of grace available. (grace wouldn’t be very amazing if there were only a limited amount, would it?)

This is where, I think, Peter’s question comes in.  How many times do I have to forgive? 7 times? Was Peter asking for a friend? Peter was asking for us.

Now,7 is a pretty generous offer. If you’ve ever forgiven anyone, you know.  But biblically, I mean, 7 is a generous offer.  Not only is it the biblical number signifying perfection or completion, but Peter is also referring to Amos chapters 1 and 2, where Amos writes: For three crimes of …[various nation/people], and for four, I won’t hold back the punishment,

Peter offers to forgive twice as much – twice 3 plus 1, even!  Surely to forgive someone seven times is generous, right?

If one hasn’t experienced grace, then, yes, indeed, seven sounds really generous.

If one has experienced grace, then one has stopped counting.  Because grace finds goodness in everything.  Because by grace

>As far as east is from west—
   that’s how far God has removed our sin from us. (Psalm 103:12)
>in the words of Micah: Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity,
           overlooking the sin of the few remaining for his inheritance?
     He doesn’t hold on to his anger forever;
           he delights in faithful love.
    He will once again have compassion on us;
           he will tread down our iniquities.
You will hurl all our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)
>and Paul in Ephesians 2: You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

I can assure you that God’s grace is not a limited resource.  No matter how much grace you have received, God will not run out!

Some of us begin to think that God has charged us with choosing when, where, to whom, and how much grace to distribute.

This is where Jesus’ response to Peter’s question comes in. The forgiven servant, who, I might add, has been forgiven a debt of 10,000 talents, goes and refuses to forgive a fellow servant’s debt of 100 coins.  Here’s the quick math on that: 6,000 pence or denari or coins equaled 1 talent.

So the debt he is forgiven is 600,000 times the debt he refuses to forgive.

Who died and made him God?

Well, actually, no one.

Again, if one has received grace, if one has opened oneself to the magnificence of God’s grace, then one responds by offering grace to others. In other words: If we have experienced grace, then we have grace flowing out of us!

The harshest part of the story – in fact, the only harsh part, is the end, when Jesus says,

“When his fellow servants saw what happened, they were deeply offended. They came and told their master all that happened. 32 His master called the first servant and said, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you appealed to me. 33 Shouldn’t you also have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 His master was furious and handed him over to the guard responsible for punishing prisoners, until he had paid the whole debt.

35 “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you if you don’t forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:31-35)

I noticed for the first time ever, in preparing this sermon, the weight of verse 31. The unforgiving servant was turned in, tattled on, snitched on, by his fellow servants.

I wonder how much snitching is going on about us?

I wonder how much of the world around us looks at the church and thinks we look a lot like that unforgiving servant.

I wonder if any of us really believe God has charged us with metering out God’s grace.

If we do, then this message seems clear: “His master was furious and handed him over to the guard responsible for punishing prisoners, until he had paid the whole debt. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you if you don’t forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

God’s grace is not ours to measure out and distribute or withhold as we think appropriate!  God’s grace is not a limited, scarce resource that we have to or could possibly control.

Grace is wilder than a flood; it cannot be tamed.  If we let grace in, grace begins its work in us.

The poem I quoted to open this message, for those who didn’t recognize it, is a song by U2 titled, “Grace.” I didn’t share the line I find most powerful: Grace “travels outside of karma.”

Karma: you know it: you get what you deserve?  You reap what you sow? What goes around comes around?

That’s the way the world seems to work. Sometimes that’s the way we say we want the world to work.

But Grace travels outside of karma.  The God who loves you because of God’s own character and decision, not your own, also offers grace, shares grace, showers you with grace.

Grace, I want you to know, is the most basic identifier of Wesleyan or Methodist theology and practice.  Wesley identified grace by the variety of ways it worked, and the fullness of it available to ALL.

I think Wesley would love the closing lines of the song I shared to open, which I share now to close:

Grace finds beauty in everything
What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things
Grace makes beauty out of ugly things
Have you got ugly things that you would like grace to work on?

Anything you are willing to open up to the light of God’s grace, grace will find beauty, will make beauty of it.

If you feel you have been withholding grace from others, it is very likely you have not let yourself experience the depth of grace that God offers.

I believe that as we let God’s grace really get hold of us, it changes us.  It finds beauty in us, it takes what is ugly and makes it beautiful.

IF we have received grace, then we will give grace away

If Grace Then…

If Sacramental…

ifthenred (1)This is week one of our September series, If…Then

Many thanks to White’s Chapel United Methodist Church for background and development of this series!

Liam, my 3 year old son, came down the steps with a stepstool.  He stopped at about the fourth step from the bottom, and put the stepstool down next to him.  

“What are you trying to do?” I asked.

“Is it dangerous?” Liam replied.

“Yeah, bud, it is kind of dangerous to use a stepstool on stairs.”

He sulked off.

One of the things we try to teach young ones is cause and effect: that choices we make and actions we take have consequences.  Sometimes, choices we make and actions we take have consequences beyond our intent.

If you climb on a stepstool on a staircase, and trip and fall, then you have farther to fall.

If you snack right before a meal, then you won’t be able to eat all of your dinner.

If you don’t look both ways before you cross a street, then you could get hit by a car.

If you don’t say please and thank you, then you will find others might not say please and thank you to you.

But, of course, these lessons of cause and effect are not only for children; all of our lives work this way, too.  

We all live lives of choices, and all choices have consequences.  Some we intend, some we do not.

Our spiritual lives work this way, too.

For the next 4 weeks we are going to focus on some of the basic “If..Then”s of the Christian life.

Full Disclosure: this is also the beginning of our stewardship campaign.  That means that over the next month or so we are going to invite you to consider your participation in and support of our congregation.  As with any other organization, this church has bills to pay and financial commitments to keep. Let me say that differently: the ministry we do as a church needs our participation and our financial support. We make every effort to handle the money you contribute faithfully and our Finance Committee as well as our Board of Trustees are charged with assuring this.

Our stewardship is not separable from our following Jesus.  Our mission is following Jesus a bit better today than yesterday. Following Jesus takes all of us; we cannot follow Jesus halfway. Being disciples of Jesus means learning to follow him with all we are and all we have.

We start today with this: If we are Sacramental THEN we respond to God’s grace

We will observe a sacrament together this morning. We United Methodists consider there to be 2 sacraments: baptism and communion. Most Protestant denominations also recognize these 2.  The Roman Catholic Church has 7 sacraments: baptism, confirmation, communion, penance, anointing of the sick, ordination and marriage. On the other end of the spectrum, the Salvation Army, which is actually a denomination of Christianity, has no sacraments,while anabaptists observe the 2 we observe and add footwashing. St. Francis of Assisi is said by some to have identified over a hundred sacraments.

I say we are sacramental. Let me tell you why. Following John Wesley, and his method of following Jesus, we depend upon God and our community to support, uphold, and encourage us in this walk of faith.  It takes strength and focus and ability beyond what any one of us can muster to follow Jesus.  The regular, habitual practice of the sacraments is part of how we follow a couple millennia now of church history in finding strength outside ourselves to follow Jesus.

All of which has me thinking that maybe we ought to spend a little time talking about “what is a sacrament?”  One of the simplest definitions of a sacrament is that it is “an outward and physical sign of an inward and spiritual divine grace.

This definition alone doesn’t satisfy me because we use that exact language referring to a wedding ring in the wedding liturgy, but we don’t recognize marriage as a sacrament. But I think it does carry the idea of a sacrament: that God is here and involved in some way more and different than God is everywhere and always active.

Our Articles of Religion say that sacraments “are certain signs of grace, and God’s good will toward us, by which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm, our faith in him.” (link)

Let’s spend a few moments on this: Communion, the sacrament we are going to share this morning, is a sign. It is a sign of God’s grace – in other words, of God’s good will toward us. Let that soak in. God has good will toward us! toward you!  God wants good for you!

Through this sacrament, we understand that God works invisibly.  We don’t like invisibly these days.  We think that is magic or spookiness or manipulation.  Or maybe cgi. But think of it this way: God works in us, in this sacrament, in ways that can’t be seen – aren’t obvious.  Sharing in the sacrament won’t make you stand taller or thinner or smile bigger or, really, even make you less hungry.  But God does work in us through this sacrament.

A sacrament quickens us.  No, it doesn’t make is faster.  “Quicken” is an old-fashioned way to say “bring to life.” Sharing communion brings us to life and strengthens and confirms our faith.

How does it do this?

I’m glad you asked.

The OT reading for the morning is a brief slice out of the bigger story of the beginning of Passover. You know the story, right?  The Hebrew people were languishing in Egypt as slaves.  Life was not good for them, and it was getting worse.  They cried out to God.  

When people cry out to God, God hears, and God responds.

You know this story even if you haven’t read it in Exodus – in the Bible.  You’ve seen “The 10 Commandments,” or “The Prince of Egypt,” or some similar version of the story.

God calls Moses to lead the deliverance of the slaves.  Pharoah says ok, then changes his mind. So then we get plagues. 10 of them.

  1. water into blood
  2. frogs
  3. bugs (lice? depending on your translation)
  4. flies/wild animals (again, depending on your translation)
  5. livestock dying
  6. boils
  7. hail and thunder
  8. locusts
  9. darkness  and finally:
  10. death of the firstborn child

But God has a plan to protect his own people – for the Angel of Death to “Pass Over” their houses and thus allow them all to live.

The “First Passover” is laid out in Exodus Chapter 12 and 13.  I encourage you to read these chapters later today.  One thing you’ll notice is that the point of all this is, as 12:14 says

This day will be a day of remembering for you. You will observe it as a festival to the Lord. You will observe it in every generation as a regulation for all time.

God intends this great act on God’s part not just to be a one-off. You see, God has much grander designs here than merely freeing slaves.

God is creating a people.  While a single event doesn’t make a people, doesn’t bond a people and galvanize them to face incredible odds and horrific challenges.

But a single event can form the basis for something that lasts.

That’s what sacraments are about.

You see, every time you and I share this, we share this (Last Supper images)

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take and eat. This is my body.” He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from this, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many so that their sins may be forgiven. I tell you, I won’t drink wine again until that day when I drink it in a new way with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Then, after singing songs of praise, they went to the Mount of Olives.

Today, this act, this sacrament, takes us back nearly 2,000 years!

The great thing about a sacrament is that it gives us this great opportunity to experience the presence of God, to come alive, to confirm and strengthen our faith.

The challenge of a sacrament is that we not it into just another set of going through the motions or just another magic event. Sacraments run this risk for us.

I remember years ago feeling like we offered communion too often. I thought people didn’t take it seriously; that it didn’t mean anything.

I have since learned that such assumptions almost always say more about the person making them than they do about other people.

When, or if, I assume something about you or your spiritual life, without actually knowing you, my assumptions say more about me than about you.

I have since learned that for many people, this simple observance of the sacrament means more than I could possibly know – certainly more than my words can describe.  This is because our celebration of this sacrament today connects us to Jesus’ celebration of it so long ago. It means that God’s grace is here, now, for us.

We can also turn a sacrament into a magic formula.  “this must happen every time exactly as it happened for me the first time!” we might say.

Remember how Jacob, waking up from a dream, built a little monument and said, “Surely God was in this place and I didn’t know it!”? (Genesis 28) He didn’t stay there the rest of his life, but the experience he had there changed the rest of his life.  The bible doesn’t tell us that Jacob went to sleep every night with a rock for a pillow just in case that “made” the dream happen, but I’m fairly sure that many mornings when Jacob woke up, he remembered that single, special time.

Celebrating a sacrament means you can have a tangible experience of God’s grace – God’s good will toward you – this morning.


If we are sacramental people.

Every ‘if’ has a ‘then;’ often more than one.  The ‘then’ for today’s ‘if’ is this: ‘we respond to God’s grace.’ To keep this clear, here is a concise summary  of God’s good will toward us.

  1. God has been intent upon forming a people for a long, long time.  God’s plan for these people is to deliver them from slavery to sin
  2. to lead them to freedom
  3. to shine in them and through them in ways that draw other people, all people, toward God’s grace.

You and I are invited today to respond to God’s grace.  We are invited everyday to respond to God’s grace, but today we celebrate a sacrament together.  And if we celebrate a sacrament together, then we ought to respond to God’s grace that is present here and now.

How will you respond to God’s grace?

As you consider how you will respond to God’s grace – to God’s good will toward you – know this:

  1. God loves you because it is God’s character and decision to love you. You didn’t have to earn it, so you can’t un-earn it.
  2. God’s intent, through his grace, is to create a people through whom he can reach, and save, the world.
  3. God wants all of you – every aspect of your life.

I invite you to further consider how you will respond to God’s grace during our celebration of the sacrament together.

If Sacramental…