And that, I believe, is the bottom line of the church of Jesus Christ. The bottom line is “whosoever.”
Now I’ve looked at this verse from about every angle it can be examined. I studied the original Greek. I read several translations. I consulted any commentary I could get my hands on. I even prayed about it. And I have come to the conclusion that there’s really just no way around it.
When Paul says everyone, well, he means…everyone. Because of Christ everyone and everything that was lost has been reconciled back to God.
Ten years ago this congregation recognized this gift of grace in an amazing way. After much conversation and debate and loving one another and challenging one another, this congregation voted to become and open and affirming church. We said, in part,
We are a congregation that seeks to break down the barriers of prejudice, declaring respect for the worth and dignity of all persons, embracing differences in age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, ethnicity, nationality, socio-economic status, and physical, emotional, and mental capability…
That is our way of saying to the world, everyone—whosoever. That’s what it means to be the church.
It was the theme of our Annual Meeting on June 12, “Be the Church,” as we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our Open and Affirming statement, our “whosoever declaration.” It will be the theme of a summer sermon series that Rachel and I will be offering in July and August. Look for more information about that in my next post and in the summer edition of FaithWorks.