“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10.
These words have been a constant companion of mine since we all first heard them two Sundays ago during the Gospel Lesson appointed for Good Shepherd Sunday.
We have all heard them before - they come around every three years in the Revised Lectionary cycle. They are the words that my favorite professor at Iliff School of Theology patterned his life. They were, in his words, his capital “T” Truth. They formed his judgment and decision making. If he had to choose between two courses of action, he would ask himself, “Does this action give life so that others may have it abundantly?”
These words were given new meaning for me this last three days during the annual gathering of Colorado Episcopal clergy at the 2017 Clergy Conference. The topic was “Identity/Vocation” - both individual and congregational - framed by the question “Who Do You Say That I Am?” Our discussions were led by our speakers the Reverend John Lewis and Ms. Rebecca Hall from the Seminary of the Southwest/St. Benedict’s Workshop in Austin, Texas. There, Reverend Lewis talked of “grace” as being “the life-giving power of God.” This is what God - the bringer of life - does. God brings life: In creation, God brought life out of darkness, life out of chaos; in resurrection, God brought life out of death.
This grace - this life-giving power - is given to us - each and every one of us - freely by God - so that we may in turn use our own individual gifts and talents to go out into our community, our world, and share that same grace with others.
In this Easter season - this season when we celebrate the resurrection of Christ into our lives - it is good for us to remember God’s grace given to us through the resurrected Jesus. As St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians, “it is no longer [we] who live, but it is Christ who lives in [us]. And the life [we] now live in the flesh [we] live by faith in the Son of God, who loved [us] and gave himself for [us].”
God came to us in the person of Jesus so that we may have life and have it abundantly. Through Christ’s resurrection, we are called to share that life so that others might have life also, and have it abundantly. I’ll leave you with the same questions we were asked to ponder, questions most appropriate for this season of Resurrection:
• What are some ways has God shared this grace - God’s “life giving power” - with others through you?
• Who in your life can you identify as being someone who shares God’s grace with others?
• How can we all share the life the risen Christ has given us with others so they may have life abundantly?
Jesus came that we all may have life and have it abundantly. Let us go forth into the world sharing that same life - that same grace - with our neighbors and strangers alike.
Blessings to you all this Eastertide,