Weekly Reflection (NEW!)
Hello Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
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Please read Philippians 2 in your Bible.
Here's another illustration from that Women of the ELCA's Assembly I attended. The chair of the meeting was conducting business, and she had asked for a motion to adopt some report that had been given. I don't remember what. There was some discussion and the assembly came to the conclusion that the report was incomplete. The chair made a ruling that the report did indeed need more work. She announced, "The adoption of the report is pending and is subject to further redemption." There were some giggles in the room. The chair smiled and corrected herself, "I mean further revision." The business meeting went on.
My thoughts however turned to the concept of redemption. When you go to the dry cleaners and give the employee that ticket and he or she then comes out with your clothes, you have redeemed your clothes. Your clothes have been claimed as your own and they are not destined to exist with no purpose. You will again use them. Your clothes have experienced redemption.
Jesus did the same thing for us except he did not give some tattered ticket. He gave his life. We were like the rebellious children who wanted to push God to the limit. Our sin and the evil we commit screams out the question, "How much do you love us, God? C'mon. How much can you take?" Jesus, God among us, answered with his life. God declares that God loves us so much that nothing will separate us from God's love - not even death. Jesus was raised from the dead and continues to love us. God continues to be present to us and continues to open our eyes to the needs of the others around us. We have been redeemed.
We could then understand "further redemption" as the process of a growing, deepening faith. Faith is a gift from God the Holy Spirit, but lately I have come to think of faith as a gift that also requires work. Look at Philippians 2:12. "[W]ork out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure." (NRSV) For faith to deepen we must undertake the disciplines of faith: studying the Bible, prayer, meditation, fasting, service to others. Don't worry if you are unsure where to begin or how to do these disciplines. Your salvation is secure. God loves you. You are God's precious child. God forgives you of the sin and evil in your life. Nothing can change that. But perhaps through these disciplines you can experience "further" redemption.