When God called Abram (later named Abraham) and told him to leave his home and his family, God told him that he would become a blessing to others. More importantly, God told him that all the families of the world would be blessed through him. Imagine that. An old man from the “big city” goes off with his family to a strange and foreign land, simply because God called him to this new life.
It takes a lot of faith to turn your back on what you have believed and live in a whole new way. In a similar way, God called Paul to leave all that he had ever known to bring heretics and infidels into the family of God. He still worshiped the God of Abraham, but now realized that more than one family and race could be blessed, would be blessed, by God’s covenant. And, as he wrote to these new Churches around the Mediterranean Sea, he began each letter in the same way.
He reminded each new Christian of the grace and peace they had received. Then he told them to share those gifts with others. In Paul’s mind, the Church (Ekklesia) has been called by God to continue the work God had given to Abraham and the Jewish people. The Church is charged with the mission to share God’s blessings with all nations and families of the world. But how can it do that? Just what is God asking of us?
God’s grace invites us into His peace even when, perhaps especially when, we don’t deserve it. And His peace reminds us that the most important thing we can do is to be who He has created us to be, and to recognize that everyone we meet is also created and loved by God. Paul writes to these Churches affirming God’s love for them, even though he once believed that these were not God’s people. Against his will, God called him to engage with them, to call them brothers and sisters.
Like Abraham and Paul, the Church today is living in a world engaged in war on many fronts. Perhaps this Lenten season we can meditate on how God might be calling us to be peacemakers? Consider it, then pass it on.