Saturday, November 26, 2011
Each year the clergy members of the Annual Conference gather to hear a report of the Conference Board of Ministry. It includes several listings which provide some order to what might otherwise be a rather confusing and careless look at the clergy membership available for appointment by the Bishop to the church. There is also that moment when the Bishop asks each of the District Superintendents to speak a word about the character of those clergy members of their respective districts. The usual response to the Bishop's historical question is some variation of "Bishop, the men and women under appointment in my District are blameless in life and faithful in service." Some may hear the exchange with a measure of smugness, but I suspect more cringe just a bit at being put in the category of blameless.
The Apostle Paul talked about followers of Jesus being blameless. In I Corinthians 1:8, he wrote, "...so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." And then over in I Thessalonians 3:13 he is back at it again as he wrote to the church, "And may He so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints." It must have been a source of great encouragement to those early Christians to know that someone like Paul was praying that they would be able to stand blameless before Jesus when He returned.
However, the truth of the matter is that none of us would dare have such a hope were it not for what has been done for us through Jesus on the cross. To be seen as blameless on that day will only mean that a great work of redemption has been completed for us, enabling us to know a forgiveness we would, otherwise, never know and a oneness with God that we always recognize as being undeserved. Thanks be to God for that grace and mercy which will cause Him to see us on that day as one of the blameless ones.