The Holy Bible remains the bestselling book in the world for a reason it is not just a work of literary genius. The Bible is God’s word and love letter to you and me, it guides us to eternity with God through and in Jesus Christ. The Gospels containing 37 miracles of Jesus Christ brings a renewing understanding of radical grace transforming hope of God in the day to day issues of our life. The Gospels and miracles are about the outward sign of inward transformation.
Based on the book of Titus 3 verse 6-7, Radical Grace Transforming Hope is the theme Rev Michaela Youngson and Bala Gnanapragasam have taken as the President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference in 2018/2019. Beyond the ‘hyper-grace’ teachings, the source, power, and secret of this radical grace transforming hope is the Holy Spirit. Theology without the Holy Spirit promotes information without transformation, hence radical grace transforming hope is not just about information but Holy Spirit inspired transformation through the whole counsel of God. The pictures of the two women with common problem and miracle in Mark 5 awakens us to the abundant radical grace transforming hope in Jesus for the dead or the sick – spiritually, maritally, emotionally or physically. Radical grace transforming hope is not comfortable or at ease in sin and does not work against the Holy Spirit’s work of conviction which is meant to lead us to repentance (2 Cor 7:10). Radical grace transforming hope empowers us to be freed from the mastery of sin (Rom 6:14). Radical grace instructs us to deny godlessness and worldly passions, and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives (Titus 2:11-12). Radical grace teaches and empowers us to live supernatural lives freed from the power of sin.
Franciscan priest Richard Rohr, founder and animator of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico in his book Radical Grace: Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr expressed his ‘disappointment that more Christians do not seem to accept or do much with their status as the sons and daughters of God.’ On the sin against the Holy Spirit, Rohr said, “Our only real badness consists in the repression of our goodness, which is the Spirit given and promised. And that is indeed bad. Empirically, this badness shows itself in hardness, non-listening, the refusal to feel, self-hated in its many disguises and superficiality in general. This is the great sin of non-belief, which aborts the human soul a thousand times a day. We refuse to believe who the Son has told us we are-sons and daughters of the living God. We hate ourselves mercilessly, and in many ways our preoccupation with sins has kept us from the recognition of this great sin. It is the unforgivable and unrecognised sin against the Holy Spirit, because it is unrecognised disbelief in what God has done.” The reflection is that our response to what God has done and still doing through Jesus Christ – radical grace transforming hope, has the potential to raise and make us a new creation, sons and daughter of God, believers for a healthy church, home, and a better world.
Just as the ethics of the Ten Commandments are still the standards in the New Testament, radical grace does not dismiss the fear of God nor de-emphasises the relevancy of the gospels as a model for discipleship (Matt 5:17-20, Jn 1:29, Heb 9-10). The Proverbs teach us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10). The early church was healthy and growing when it walked in the fear of the Lord (Acts 9:31). Radical grace transforming hope touched dead and sick bodies before raising them. Radical grace transforming hope touched a leper. Radical grace transforming hope violated the Sabbath by healing others. Radical grace transforming hope went to Jairus’ house, and along the road allowed a haemorrhaging woman to touch Him. Only in Jesus, there is radical grace transforming hope, life and community for all. Jesus paid the price for radical grace transforming hope. When you experience the radical grace transforming hope, you we can’t help but take Jesus seriously. Both Jairus, a powerful but humble leader and the sick woman show the importance of radical grace transforming hope and faith in Jesus Christ. The reflection is that, in the name and the power of Jesus, radical grace is sufficient when human resources fails.
Jairus’ daughter was born in the same year when the sick woman began incessant bleeding. Yet, in the same year, on the same day, both were healed. One stopped bleeding, which restored her life. The other had her life restored, so that she could continue to “bleed” and eventually produce life. Beloved, the Jairus,’ the two women, the dead, the sick, the crowd, the mourners are in you and me, in our homes, churches, and in our nations. Like Abraham and Sarah, crowd and mourners had to laugh because the promise was impossible from a human point of view. The mourners don’t take Jesus seriously because their knowledge about life and death is limited and self focused.
The Gospel today calls us to stop our bleeding and increase our believing. It calls us to fill our wounds with Jesus healing, to remove our fear and replace it with Jesus’ peace. We ask and receive all these things as we surrender, come out of the crowd of unbelief and pride, and put our hands on the hem of Jesus’ garment. Jesus doesn’t become unclean by contact with the unclean people, it the unclean people that becomes clean by contact with Jesus. The invitation to the Jairus’ in every home, church and nation to humble themselves and come to Jesus, asking in prayer, healing for their homes, churches and nations. The two women have something in common. They both are unable to get pregnant and give life; ‘the young girl, because she dies at puberty, just as she has the radical possibility of getting pregnant, and the other woman, because the forces inside her that are meant to give life are damaged and haemorrhaging, making it impossible for her to hold a pregnancy.’ The two women also have common miracle, just as Jesus gave back to them the possibility of fertility, ‘in one case by stopping the flow and in the other by starting it.’ The reflection and prayer is that we all need radical grace transforming hope and faith that give life to some deep parts of us that ‘have died and lifeless to ever become pregnant.’ The question is, where are your wounded heart, body, and soul that makes you forever haemorrhaging out the life forces you need in order to give abundant life? Radical grace transforming hope increases as we cast all our anxiety upon Jesus because He cares for you and me, the dead and the sick (1 Pet 5:7).
INTERCESSION FOR THE BRITISH METHODIST CONFERENCE – 5
Lord of heaven and earth, send your Holy Spirit to be the life and power of your Church and especially during this Conference. Sow in our hearts, especially in the hearts of the Conference delegates the seeds of your grace that we and they may bear the fruit of the Spirit in love and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Merciful God, out of the depths we cry to you and you hear our prayer in this Conference. Make us, especially the our Conference officers, delegates, and volunteers attentive to the voice of Jesus Christ that we and they may rise from the death of sin and and sickness and take our place in the new creation and new Methodism, Spirit-filled for world mission and evangelism in Jesus mighty name.