June 23, 2024

by Clarissa Martinelli on June 23, 2024

Good morning, Fifth Ave. Family and Friends,
How do you accept the grace of God in vain? That seems like an odd thing for Paul to ask in our scripture reading today. Grace is grace, right? All the power, all the effect, all the working is in God’s hands and not ours. At least that is how we understand it. Our job is simply to receive. We just open up our hands and grace pours in. That’s how it works, isn’t it?
Paul has a different understanding, at least when it comes to the Corinthian church which is uncharacteristic when it comes to representing the church today. I mean, the church in Corinth was struggling to get along with one another; there were feelings of superiority; there were questionable intimate relationships and some challenging theology undergirding it all. Nothing like any churches today, right?
Paul isn’t saying you must earn faith; it is a gift. But it is a gift that works in you and works through you. There are signs; there is evidence, says Paul; there is fruit when faith is not empty.
How do we ensure that we have not accepted God’s great gift of grace in vain? Paul’s advice is simple and enormously difficult. We open our hearts. We risk loving and being vulnerable.
Come on this 5th Sunday after Pentecost as we open wide our hearts to the gift of grace and worship together.
Blessings & peace,
Pastor Clarissa

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