Daily Reflection
September 18th, 2008

Marcia Shadle-Cusic

School of Medicine
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I love the beginning of the first reading when Paul reminds the young Christian Church, “…if you hold fast to the word I preached ”. We, as a Christian Church today, should also hold fast to the Gospel. But we need to ask ourselves, “Why do we believe the Gospel?” And do we put our faith into action and change our lives to conform to the teachings of Jesus, for if we do not “do something” with the word we have been taught in scripture, have we “…believed in vain”?

As teachers, parents, lay and ordained ministers we are called to share the teachings of Jesus, to live what we have embraced and to share not only the teachings BUT also the “whys” of our embracement of the teachings. One of the biggest events to understand is that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scripture. How do we embrace this event, teach and explain this event to others? What does the suffering of Christ tell us about our own lives; and how often do we revisit this event and create new meaning and understanding of Christ’s suffering and death?

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective.”

What a powerful statement this is and a statement that needs to be recognized in our own lives. Looking at the grace that has come into our lives and the power of grace to make life better for many. Are we willing to accept and use the grace and the gifts given to us? How do we recognize grace and gifts and, when goodness follows, do we give praise to God or do we keep that praise for ourselves? If we recognize that grace and gifts come from God how hard does God have to work for us to accept grace and gifts?

Paul ends the First Reading reminding us again about being a community of believers and as a community we are called upon to share the teachings of Jesus and what these teachings have meant to us. We all have our individual stories of finding God in our lives and these stories need to be shared with others.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.”

Jesus taught us about forgiveness and the freedom that comes with truly forgiving another. With this freedom also come opportunities to embrace life. Even loses in life can lead us to find new life, new strength and new opportunities in life. If we recognize and use gifts given, we can strengthen our gifts and gain new insights and understandings about how we are called to live our lives, for the greater glory of God.

Luke’s Gospel led me to think about the idea of sin, the pain, the suffering, and the anxiety that sin brings. In order to turn away from sin we must: 1) recognize the sin; 2) experience the suffering and the anxiety; 3) ask genuinely for forgiveness; and 4) have faith that with the Lord, we can be forgiven and thus relieved from the suffering and the anxiety that sin brings to our lives. Being forgiven from sin allows God to re-enter our lives, to work through us, bringing joy, happiness, and love back into our lives. The experience of sin and forgiveness can make us more fully embrace our relationship with God and continue to look to God for guidance in how best we can use grace and our gifts to glorify the Lord.

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