Monday, July 16, 2007

It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.”

Monday, July 16, 2007
Proper 10 Year C
Psalm 124, Colossians 1:9-29, Matthew 10:34-11:1, Acts 11:26b

... It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.” (Acts 11:26b)

We come as witnesses to the world: witnesses of God’s power and light, of his freeing us in Christ to become the people God truly means us to be. This does not mean that the world welcomes us with open hands: as they did our teacher, sometimes the people wedded to the world reject us. But behind us backing us up is the incredible life-giving power of the Spirit. “Christian” was initially not a complimentary term. It was a slang tag applied by non-believers to the followers of the way of Christ. But through the witness of the saints this offhand dismissive term became transformed into a symbol of the victory of the gospel: just as the shameful sign of the cross itself became the symbol of the triumph of God’s son over death itself.

No longer would sin have power over us; no longer would we be in bondage, slaves to worldly opinion, indebted, indentured, trying to pull ourselves up out of folly by our own fallacious efforts. No: in Christ’s cross came the victory that was a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks, for in its embrace we found the shelter of God’s grace. The cross, which had been meant as an engine of final humiliation, turned into the means of a new beginning for us & for the world.

In him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and among us he chose to pitch his tent, to encamp with us in this world of pilgrimage, and to lead us into the place where we can finally be at home: where God reigns.

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