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Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Gift of Faith

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[June 06, 2009]   -- "Very truly I tell you, no on can see the kingdom of God without being born from above/again."-John 3: 3

RestaurantHave you heard these words before? They are both very familiar and very controversial. In this passage Jesus is trying to explain his ministry to one of the religious leaders, a man named Nicodemus, who has come to see him under the cover of darkness. While Nicodemus has seen and heard what Jesus is all about and is impressed he still fails to grasp the full picture of what Jesus is doing. This failure on the part of Nicodemus elicits these words from Jesus. Jesus knows Nicodemus is not seeing the whole picture and so he tells Nicodemus that he needs to be born again from above to be able to see. This rebirth has long been understood by the Church as something that happens in and through the waters of baptism. In baptism we become new creations and are then able to see beyond the obvious around us.

So what does this really mean for us today? Well, it means several things. First, it means that we have the gift of faith. Being born again from above means that we have faith in who Jesus is and what he is about. Second, it means that we are a part of God's kingdom and thus are to be about the business of God on earth. But it is the third meaning that is most important this morning. Being born again from above gives us the gift of meaning. Faith infuses our lives with meaning and allows us to see the movements of God in our lives. A chance meeting that changes our day is not a coincidence. The life of a loved one given up for dead is not an accident. The feeling of calm or comfort amidst crisis and fear is not a biological reaction. Being born again from above allows us to interpret ordinary events as extraordinary and invites us to search for God's work in the world. Thus rebirth changes the very substance of our lives

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Prayer: Holy God, thank you for calling me to faith and giving me the gift of faith. Please nourish and nurture this faith within me and help me to see you and know you. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

[Text from file received by Phil Blackburn, First Presbyterian Church]


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