March 20, 2018

By Rev. Paul Hill, Grace UMC Los Angeles, West District

1 Peter 2:10

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Much attention recently has been given to people who have been marginalized in American society. While we call ourselves “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” many groups of people struggle daily to fit in, to realize their dreams, and rise above a myriad of experiences and situations that make them question why the American dream escapes them. Black folk want to know “why,” when stopped by police they are subject to treatment that at the least is reflective of racial profiling and abuse which too often leads to death. Latinos fear being judged as illegal immigrants then physically abused by legal authorities and separated from their families. Women are often sexually violated, underpaid and robbed of opportunities for which they are qualified but not considered or hired. They and others are concerned about having the same opportunities that others who are citizens of the United States take for grant it. Hence we hear the cries “We Matter” and “#Me

Too.” Everybody wants to feel like they belong, that they matter, and that they are included in God’s great vision.The early Christians often felt ostracized, denied, ridiculed and rejected as they sought to be a part of the early Christian Church. They were alienated by those who were early Christian converts, people who were Pharisees, scribes, priests, and other officials. They were made to feel hopeless, having no future and no acceptance from God. The apostle Peter, however, did not allow the disinherited to be alienated by the rest of the community of faith, but proclaimed to them that because of Jesus’ investment in their salvation on Calvary’s hill, because of the trauma He experienced even unto death, they had been included in the promise of eternal life Jesus gained from His death and resurrection. As we move towards Easter, let us remember that Christ has paid the price for the salvation of all people. We were once nobodies, but now we are somebodies, bought with a price. God through Christ has made us a holy people who matter and who, too, belong to God’s plan.

Prayer: Savior and Redeemer, as we move towards the celebration of your resurrection, fill us with the certainty that “we matter,” “we belong to your plan,” and “we too” shall see and experience the glory of God in His kingdom. Help us to not grow weary in the atrocities of our times, but to remain steadfast, immovable, and abounding in the work of our God. Amen.