“So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” (NRSV)
The Bible has a fair number of these how-to-behave-as-a-person-of-faith” lists. They are not really meant to be check-lists, though, like ticking the boxes on a daily chores list. Actually, that defeats their whole purpose. They aren’t meant to inspire good behavior but to be a self-measure to see how well one is living out the just and righteous life as a follower of Jesus. They are meant to be more reinforcement of the life we have chosen to live than a remember-to-be-nice-to-someone-today list.
As confessed followers of Jesus we commit to live a life that is grounded in love and kindness towards all. We seek to see God in every face we encounter just we hope and pray those people will see God’s face in us. You see, how we treat or relate to the other is a direct reflection of how we truly relate to God. Are we stingy, guarded, suspicious, fearful, and project out a “you are not really worthy of me or what I have to give” to the people, the others, we encounter? If so, then we are really projecting those same actions and feelings toward God.
God isn’t just in the church on Sunday mornings. God is in the world…in you…in me…in everyone. We breathe in the breath of God with every breath we take because all of creation is “of God!”
Parking God in the heavens on some gem-studded throne, out of earshot and eyesight may be the way some choose to perceive God. Many have. But if you take all the incarnational references to God out of the Bible, you won’t have much left. The New Testament is automatically eliminated. God is in the world, friends!
A bonus text for this morning may help make the point. Let me suggest you spend a little time with this reading from the opening of John’s Gospel:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:1-5 NRSV
Be the light in someone’s life. Shoot, be the light in every person’s life you meet! That ‘s what it means to be a blessing to someone today!