Psalm: 31
Old Testament: Jeremiah 23:16-32
New Testament: Romans 9:19-33

Those who were not my people I will call “my people”,
and her who was not beloved I will call “beloved”. ’
‘And in the very place where it was said to them, “You are not my people”,
there they shall be called children of the living God.’ (Romans 9:25-26)

I want you to imagine for a second that you were made a promise as a child. A promise that you were special and under the watchful eye of God. Not only that, but you were convinced that if God were ever to show up in your midst, you would be the first to know.

Now imagine that you saw someone else receiving that promise. How would you feel? Jealous? Hurt? Confused?

I suspect that even in his post-conversion state, Paul was extremely uncomfortable with the idea that the Jewish people “missed the boat” when it came to accepting Jesus as the Messiah. In fact Romans 9-11 is an open reflection on what the fate of God’s chosen ones might be.

I sit here wondering if there are any parallels in Churchland….We too hold a promise of salvation and special status. Are we holding onto it too tightly?

In many Anglican churches, attendance is dropping off. More “evangelical” congregations are growing, while our parishes are struggling to pay the hydro bill.

But is our jealousy warranted? Is it even Christian?

The fact of the matter is that people outside of our building and church pews are still being led to Jesus in other denominations….they are still receiving Good News.

Granted, some of those messages might be distorted….but we also believe that the Holy Spirit is present in Christian communities everywhere. Perhaps our job is not necessarily to worry about what others are doing, but to concentrate on how we ourselves are living faithful lives…confident that we are united under one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. +

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