Gathered and Freed: By Love, For Love

Posted on January 24, 2017 by ELCA Youth Gathering

– Drew Ingram

I remember the Confirmation lesson the week I was cut from the basketball team. I was telling myself that I was not good enough at basketball or at anything. The Confirmation lesson title was, “G.O.G.G.: The Gift Of God’s Grace.” We read Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

I heard, understood, and resonated with the truth that no matter what I told myself, God loved me; that love was a gift not because of anything I had done or failed to do.

In the time that followed that moment, all I wanted to do was share this love. Of course, there have been times where I lost this focus and drive. This is why I give thanks to God for the church that shows and tells me the good news of God’s grace and love as we study scripture, remember our baptisms, confess where we have fallen short and hear God’s forgiveness, and come to the table where everyone receives Christ’s body and blood in bread and wine.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

This reality does change everything. It means each and every one of us are set free from the things that turn us in on ourselves. We are free to share God’s love with others. God’s grace and the faithfulness of Christ empower us to remind people that they are loved just as they are, not because they have earned it.

Where you are now, and in Houston in 2018, you are set free to share God’s love with everyone you encounter. Share a meal with someone who is hungry. Listen to someone’s story. Tell them they are loved.

 

Rev. Drew Ingram is pastor at Spirit in the Hills Lutheran in Spicewood, Texas

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