Sunday, June 12, 2022

Access to Grace - Romans 5

Access to Grace

Tony E Dillon Hansen

Sermon based upon Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15;Psalm 8; Proverbs 8

Opening prayer

Today is called Trinity Sunday and offers another chance for us to think about the manifestation of God.  We could go into centuries of church dogma on the trinity. 

I submit to you there is something more tangible than dogma. 

I heard someone once say, “We cannot completely comprehend how God manifest’s in our world.” Yet, we know with certainty that we have a leader (not like the ones on the ballots this past Tuesday). We have someone that we can trust, even when things get ugly. 

Isn’t that what we need in these times? 

Trinity explains the experience and history of the church through the ongoing presence of God manifested in spirit and the person of Jesus teaching us. What that means more than anything is that God is relationship. Revealed in the person and further through the spirit. 

You don’t have to have it all figured out because God is going to be with us. The spirit, the advocate, the companion guides us. There is so much power right at out finger tips at our reach. Yes, you have trials and challenges but the spirit of Christ is with us today and gives strength when we access that grace in prayer and our good actions.

No one wants or asks for trials and challenges. You never see a person at the checkout counter when they ask “did you find everything you needed” respond with something like “you know, I was looking for trouble and pain, hurt, and confusion.” I certainly don’t. No one ever said give me more pain, more discomfort, or more confusion. 

There are moments when trouble seems to be stalking and all too opportunistic. Yet we don’t need to feel alone.  We can tap into the mystery. We can tap into the relationship, the spirit, the teachings of Jesus to guide us to better paths, better hearts and clearer minds. 

It is a mystery that we cannot grasp. John’s Gospel starts out by reminding us that Christ is the word made flesh. Experience the Word and feel it in your soul, in your heart, in your breath. Let the eternal connect to you! How wonderful !

God is not about politics or partisan motivator, but God is justice and love that shines light on the world as what is possible. “The Holy Spirit pours God’s love in the hearts of Jesus believers.” Let the spirit pour that into your heart.

That is what I think Paul is referring when saying, God’s Spirit given to us - gives us “access to the grace of God” wherever we are on life’s journey and in the many expressions of God’s love. 

That is why Paul writes we are “justified by faith” and “we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.” This is not flamboyant bragging, but hearty excitement for what God does for us. Be excited in someone that rises above politics to give life and liberation from the worldly torments. We boast in that relationship. 

Like all relationships, they come with risk - not from selfishness or foolishness but something grounded in a loving self-confidence warmed with the Holy Spirit around us.

These divine gifts - faith, love, hope - (1 Corinthians 13); These give us endurance and character to prevail over suffering. God is God; we are not. That can take so much pressure off us. We can let God be God instead of trying to do everything.

Then maybe together, we can figure things out as a church (our relationship with each other and with God) and witness the spirit working within us and between us. 

We can witness God’s promise, God’s grace realized through faith.

Romans 4 reminds us that we all fall short and fail before the perfection of God. We have a lot of noise in our lives. That noise distracts  us. What are we listening to that distract us from what God calls us to do and God says to us? 

Listen carefully and hear God speaking to you in your work, in your prayer, where you sit, where you stand and where you lay down. Look for that relationship (even when you fail) and you will find a doorway to grace.

Then you too will realize “hope does not disappoint because God’s love is poured into you heart through the Spirit.”

Thanks Be to God.