During this season of Lent, Bishop Ward reflects on John 3 and God’s Grace.
Grace and peace today in the name of Jesus Christ, the One that we seek throughout this holy season of Lent.
In the text appointed for this Sunday, John, Chapter 3, Jesus engages in conversation with a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus came to Jesus by night to ask questions, to seek to understand.
The story culminates with perhaps the most known scripture verse in the entire New Testament,John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that God gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God sent God’s own Son into the world not to judge the world, but that through him, the world might be saved. We who love and serve God in the Wesleyan Methodist tradition, love the centrality of grace in God’s purpose.
God’s gracious purpose is to draw entire creation back to God’s own self. Judgement is not the purpose of God, rather salvation is the purpose of God and that salvation is accomplished through grace.
We see in the scripture how grace works. Grace beckons us even before we are awakened to the reality of God’s love. Grace opens our eyes so that we believe and are justified in the sight of God. Grace draws us forward into holiness as we engage in the disciplines of Christian living and grow more like Christ.
Grace even gives us the gift of Christian perfection we believe. And finally, eternal life is the consummate gift of grace. The proclamation of grace, the embodying of it in the world, is a unique Wesleyan gift among all the families of Christendom.
I give thanks today for the opportunity to live and serve and lead in the United Methodist Church. Our heartbeat is the very grace of God. Thank you for the way that you are proclaiming grace.
Thank you for the way you are teaching what it means to live in grace. Thank you for the way you are sharing grace in your community through the ministries and mission of your local church.
Together we live grace-filled lives, not because of who we are, but because of the gracious and compassionate God we love and serve.
May these days of Lent be filled with grace upon your life, and through the life of your church, out into the world. God’s gift to us is life, grace upon grace upon grace. Thanks be to God.