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No Obstacles to Salvation Here - Lectionary Reflection for Pentecost 4B (2 Corinthians 6)

  Paul - Rembrandt 2 Corinthians 6:1-13 New Revised Standard Version 6  As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain.  2  For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you,     and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!  3  We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry,  4  but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities,  5  beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger;  6  by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love,  7  truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;  8  in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true;  9  as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and

Unto Us a Child Is Born


For a child has been born for us,
    a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
    and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually,
    and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
    He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. 
(Isaiah 9:6-7)


Christmas Eve has arrived. Advent has brought us this far. We have walked in expectation and hope. Now, as the day progresses, we have opportunity to reflect on the promise of Isaiah. "A child has been for us."  This is the promise of God that we might see the revealing of God's presence in our midst. In the person of a child, of an infant, we will encounter the Prince of Peace. We have opportunity this day to enter into the promised realm of God, where justice and righteousness will be established.

As you meditate upon Isaiah's message for the day I invite you to also reflect on these words preached at Christmas 1940 by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

What kings and leaders of nations, philosophers and artists, founders of religions and teachers of morals have tried in vain to do -- that now happens through a newborn child. Putting to shame the most powerful human efforts and accomplishments, a child is placed here at the midpoint of world history -- a child born of human beings, a son given by God (Isa. 9:6). That is the mystery of redemption of the world; everything past and everything future is encompassed here. The infinite mercy of the almighty God comes to us, descends to us in the form of a child, his Son. That this child is born for us,  this son is given to us,  that this human child and Son of God belongs to me, that I know him, have him, love him, that I am his and he is mine -- on this alone my life now depends. A child has our life in his hands . . . ." [D.B., God is in the Manger, WJK Press, p. 46].  

Yes, a child has our life in his hands! May you have a blessed Christmas! 

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