Sunday, September 14, 2014

Building Peace (Shalom)

The Lord called Abram to go to place that he would show him. God told him that he would make him into a ‘great’ nation.
God also said something about blessings and curses. God said, “…I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
This could be interpreted a few different ways. I’d like us to think about it this way, whatever action Abram took, whatever decisions he made would end up either being a blessing for the people or a curse.
When we read the story of Abram we find that he didn’t always make the right decisions. In fact sometimes they were the wrong decisions and they almost got him into trouble. But, for the most part, Abram’s decisions were good for the people and they were blessed. And because of his righteousness God’s people were blessed and we, the adopted children of God, have also been blessed.
Is that it then? God promised to make Abram’s family and great nation and bless them. Because God kept his promise to Abram we’ve also been blessed.
I don’t think that’s it. Did you hear the first verse from the psalm today? It said, “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” And, also, the gospel from Matthew, “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
These words weren’t meant for the first people to read them or hear them read. No, my friends, they were meant for us. We are to proclaim his name. We are to make known among the nations what Jesus has done. We are to go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded. We are to do these things. We have been called. We have been given a promise too.
Those we bless will be blessed and those we curse will be cursed. The decisions we make to share God’s story of Jesus Christ with those we meet on our journey will be blessed and the times we decide not to share the story, well then, those folks will be cursed because they didn’t get to hear the story of salvation. Because we didn’t tell it to them.
Blessings and curses, if we share the gospel story folks are blessed and if we don’t they are cursed. Those who hear the story find peace (shalom) and those who don’t may not find peace.
So, sharing the storing of God’s love for the world in his Son, Jesus, is the beginning to building peace.
Every time we tell the story another milestone is created to mark that event. Maybe not a pile of stones that we can see but a definite marker has been created.
Think about the people who’ve impacted your life. Think what your life would be like if they had decided to do what they did.
Now, think about those who told you the story of God’s love for the world in Jesus Christ. Where would you be today if they had decided not to do that? But they did and now you have to choose who you will tell and how you will tell the story; how you will build peace, how you will mark this part of your journey.
It sounds so easy, all we have to do is tell the story. But, the honest truth is, sometimes we don’t because our faith isn’t as strong as our fear of rejection or ridicule. We need faith in our Lord before we can tell the story.
Abram had faith in God. That’s why he could be a blessing. His ancestor’s had faith and so they were a blessing. Jesus’ disciples had faith and the world was blessed by their faith.
So, good friends, pray that God strengthens your faith so you can tell the story and be a blessing and lay a stone to mark the beginning of building peace.
Thanks be to God for his gift of grace. Amen.

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