Saturday, 21 May 2011

Once you were not a people

In the gloom of the upper room after Jesus had predicted his betrayal and Judas had gone out, after Jesus had alluded to his death and Peter’s denial had been predicted, Jesus sought to comfort his followers. He said to them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”

These words, which are so often read at funerals, are words to help the living go on living: living with hope, living with God, living with each other.

It may be that many people see that the heart of Christianity is the promise of eternal life, the promise of the many rooms in my Father’s house. Yet, from John’s perspective eternal life is, knowing the Father and the Son whom he sent, as we live in this world.

This means the aim of being a Christian is not simply what we get when we die but how we live as the people of God now.

We are people defined in our existence by our baptism into Jesus’ life and death, for this is what makes us truly what we are. Just as was read from Peter’s letter, “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

As God’s people, people who have received mercy, we are called to live as grateful recipients of God’s grace in all that we do, believing in God and also believing in Jesus.

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