Isaiah 1.18 “Come now, let us reason together ,“ says the Lord. “Though your sins are scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are crimson, they will be like wool.”
I have always liked fall. I have lived most of my life in Northern climates, so fall has always been a time of change. The fall changes are dramatic, in your face changes. The trees lose their leaves, the grass turns brown, the crops are harvested, and it turns cold and snowy. These are not changes that are easily ignored. There is nothing subtle about fall.
Fall reminds me of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul sees the Gospel as being loud and boisterous. The Gospel brings about radical change in the life of the person. The changes that come are big changes. They are in your face changes that cannot be missed.
Too often we want a Gospel that is going to leave us unchanged. We want a Gospel that fits us, that makes us comfortable being who we have always been. We do not want to change, and we do not want to think of ourselves as agents of change. We want everything to be like it has always been.
But that is not the history of how life is when we say “Yes” to God. Abraham left home to live as a stranger in a strange land. Moses challenged the authority to bring redemption to the Israelites. Amos challenged to powerful of Israel, warning them to care for the poorest in the land or they would lose everything. When God enters our lives, God challenges us to accept the changes that come with our relationship with God.
God is not ultimately concerned with our comfort and our happiness. God is ultimately concerned with redemption. God is transforming us through the Spirit so that we recognize how great and complete is our redemption. We are being made holy through the actions of the Spirit in our lives. This change calls us to see ourselves, and our world differently.
It calls us to see how to help others find redemption as we offer God’s grace. We see people, not addicts, or homeless, or immigrants, or poor, or rich. We see each person as one who needs redemption in other areas of their lives, just as we continually need to find redemption in areas of our lives. We can show God’s grace by providing healing, homes, security, a way out, and meaning. We can begin now.
Fall challenges us to see and accept change. Fall challenges to experience the ways God is changing us and changing others around us. We are called to join God in bringing redemption into our world, and into the lives of people.
Prayer: Holy God, as you change me and make me holy, remind me that redemption is to be shared. Change me so that I care about changing helping others see hope so they are willing to be changed. Amen.
Rev. Scott Engelhart
First Baptist Church