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Sermon June 12: Grace in Everything

Posted by on Jun 15, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sermon June 12: Grace in Everything

http://faithsbvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Grace-in-Everything-June-12-2016.mp3 Faith United Methodist Church June 12, 2016 4th Sunday after Pentecost Rev. Kristabeth Atwood Scripture:  Ephesians 1:3-14 Prayer for Illumination:  Guide us, O God, by your Word and Spirit, that in your light we may see light, that in your truth find freedom, and in your will discover your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Sermon:                                    Grace in Everything Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. This popular hymn is estimated to be performed 10 million times annually and has appeared in 11,000 albums. It was written by John Newton, a slave trader, after his ship was caught in a storm and almost capsized off the coast of Ireland. He marked this experience as his conversion to Christianity, although he still traded slaves for six or seven more years. About 15 years after his conversation he was ordained in the Church of England and fully renounced slavery. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see. We may wonder, was John Newton’s life a success or a failure? During his years as a slave trader he was complicit in the enslavement, and even murder, of probably thousands of people. Yet he wrote a hymn that has touched many millions of lives and turned people toward Christ. Which legacy is more lasting? The Apostle Paul new the kind of paradox we speak of this morning. In fact, he lived it. He was known as a murderer of Christians before he experienced his own conversion, meeting Jesus on the Damascus Road. And he knew that grace is everywhere. I am reminded of a passage from his second letter to the Corinthians where he wrote, “Therefore I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” Whenever I am weak, then I am strong. It is hard to take an honest look at ourselves. We are taught not to brag, on the one hand, but not to show weakness, on the other. We live in a society that allows no room for failure, where our value is based on accomplishment. We don’t easily admit defeat. Yet if we honestly look at ourselves we see a mixture of gifts and limitations, successes and failures, good deeds and bad. I don’t know about you, but I have failed in more ways and more often than I like to admit. I’ve failed in big ways and little ways. I’ve failed myself and others. Luckily, most of the time, my failures have been forgiven. Those I have hurt have often accepted my apologies. Other times, when forgiveness has been denied or there has been no one to apologize to, I have had to simply move on, vowing to learn from the experience. And more often than not I have found that the one who holds a grudge the longest, the one who has the most trouble forgiving me is myself. Today we have another word from Paul, from his letter to the Ephesians. The passage we read is an offering of praise to God. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will… In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us.” Adoption. Redemption. Forgiveness. Grace. John Newton will always be remembered as a slave trader. “Murderer of Christians” will always...

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A test post

Posted by on Nov 20, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A test post

A test post

I need a post so I can have understand how to place the blog in the website. It doesn’t have to be very long.

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