People of God
I have been pondering in these days of social, political, and pandemic upheaval what it means to be a Christian and what it means to be “the people of God.” Of course, God loves the whole world and all the people of the world as made clear in John 3:16 and many other places. But there is a distinctiveness of those who have consciously, intentionally, and purposefully put their faith and trust in Christ Jesus and are committed to be a disciple of the Living God. I Peter 2:10 states: “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” In verse 11 Peter even calls the people of God foreigners and exiles. In other words, the people of God are living in this world with primary allegiance to the Realm of God.
What does it mean to be part of the People of God? We have a deep sense of belonging to God and to one another. The People of God are comprised of all languages, cultures, and ethnicities; we are united in our love for Christ. The People of God are purposeful in the way we live. We are called to live lives of grateful and humble simplicity. The Wesleyan understanding encourages us to “do no harm, do all the good we can to whomever we can, and to stay in love with God.” And the People of God rest in the providence and promises of God. Hebrews 4:10 says, “For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world.” It is so easy for me to become anxious about what is happening with the pandemic, politics, natural disasters, and my own retirement financial accounts! But worry and anxiety bring only more anxiety and depression. I am learning that as I more deeply trust, I rest. This is not a passive rest; I still strive to do good in the world and work for justice. But I do not have to feel so responsible and anxious for all the troubles that I see. I can do my part, resting in the confidence that all things are truly in God.
People of God, know that you belong! Do not grow weary of growing in faith and doing good. Then rest in the Lord. Give thanks for the amazing grace of God in Christ Jesus. That same grace and mercy is alive and working in you, People of God! Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.