Inscribed on the very heart of God’s grace is the rule that we can be its recipients only if we do not resist being made into its agents; what happens to us must be done by us. (Mirollav Volf )
As part of course on reconciliation I was introduced to the book Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf. This insightful book invites us to willingly embrace the other even as Christ embraced us. We cannot receive from God unless we are willing to be transformed by what we receive. We must make space for others, even our enemies. The only hope for peace in this world so split by differences is the model of Christ who gave of himself. Our postmodern world has come to see that all concepts of justice and peace are biased by our perspective. We cannot expect universal reason to guide us, for reason itself becomes a tool for oppression. This world need to see the forgiveness of God enacted by the people of God. We must be agents of grace.
This summer our preaching series will be on the minor prophets. When we call these prophets from Hosea to Malachi minor prophets we do so only because their books are shorter than the likes of Isaiah Jeremiah and Ezekiel. These 12 books represent some of the least known books in the Bible. They range throughout the history of Israel before and after the captivity in Babylon. We struggle with them often because we do not understand their context and because we can become overwhelmed with the themes of judgment.
There are some significant highlights in these books which can encourage our hearts. I think of the faithfulness of God expressed in Hosea's marriage, God's patience with rebellious Jonah, Micah's call to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God, Haggai's call to rebuild the temple, Habakkuk's joy in the midst of suffering and Zechariah's reminder that it's not by might nor by power but by God's Spirit. Over these next few months we will look at significant passages in 10 of these 12 books. I hope you will join us each week or keep track online. I would also strongly encourage you to follow along with the Bible project videos that give excellent overviews of each of these books.