Scripture: Rom. 1:16–25
Key verses: (16-17) 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”
Reflection: Unashamed. Paul was not ashamed even though he had been imprisoned in Philippi (Acts 16), run out of Thessalonica (Acts 17), shipwrecked and bitten by a snake! (Acts 28) Even when he was stoned in Galatia (Acts 14) he still wanted to get to Rome to preach the gospel.
Unashamed. Paul remained bold in his call even after being ridiculed, criticized and persecuted. We might be done after one of those. I was out after the snake. Done. Long gone. Just reading about it was enough.
Paul stayed in Rome even after the snake bite. He knew that Rome was a volatile place and that Christians there had already experienced persecution. He knew the Romans would despise him and they would disagree with his teachings but he went and stayed for two years.
I think we imagine the world is like Rome and we will be ridiculed, criticized and persecuted if we were to share the gospel message. First what is the gospel message? It is the Easter story of Jesus’ resurrection and the message that new life is possible. It is the Christmas story that light shines in the darkness and darkness does not overcome it. It is the hope we find in God’s promises. It is love. It is a powerful message. Don’t you want to tell someone?!!
There is a whole new generation of young people who are children of nones. Nones are those who have no church connection, no faith that they claim. Children of nones are curious. This generation was not hurt by the church. They really don’t know anything about the church and often have not even been inside a church. Start the conversation. Invite them to church. Invite them to church on your front porch or in your back-yard. Invite them to join you for morning prayer over zoom at 8 a.m. even if you are in different states. Be unashamed of the gospel. The time is right.
Prayer: God, you have called us to be a priesthood of all believers. Empower us to proclaim your gospel message with our lives, with words and through invitations. In the name of the one who saved us. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].