Let’s look at today’s bulletin and say the prayer of Francis of Assisi all together:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let be bring Your love.
Where there is injury, let me offer healing and pardon.
Where there is sadness, let me offer Your comfort and bring Your joy.
Where there is despair, let me enter into that fear and bring Your hope.
Where there is doubt, allow me to cultivate seeds of faith.
Where there is darkness, let me shine forth Your light.
Yes Divine Master, help me not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console.
To be understood, as to understand.
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving, that we receive.
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned.
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
How would we live each day if we truly understood ourselves to be instruments in God’s hands? Saint Paul put it another way by saying that each of us is called to be “ambassadors of Christ.” Imagine, we represent Jesus Christ in the world around us. Think seriously for a moment what this means for our daily lives. When people see YOU, you are supposed to be representing our Lord!
Have you ever been given an extremely important responsibility about some significant matter? Think how you feel if you have been given such an honor. We’d surely feel esteemed and admired in such a position, yet we may also feel a little concerned about living up to the grave responsibility handed to us. We’d probably feel a great sense of worth that we were entrusted with something so important while also feeling a little nervous that we don’t mess up. We want to live up to this sacred privilege!
Well, each one of us is called by God to act as His ambassador; to act as His instrument of love and light; to act as His envoy of joy and peace. Think about it – when people sometimes wonder where God is in the world today all they have to do is look at US! We are God’s representatives!!! Yet, what will they actually see when they look at us? When they hear our words? When they look at our lives? Are we acting as worthy ambassadors of Jesus Christ?
In today’s Epistle reading, Saint Paul says, “God has shone his light of love in our hearts and given us the knowledge of his glory. YET, he has given us this treasure in earthen vessels (in other words, He has given us His treasure in our frail, finite, weak and sinful beings). Yet He’s give us His treasure to show the transcendent power belongs to God not to us but to Him!”
It’s hard to believe that God would choose YOU or ME to act as HIS instrument of love, as His ambassador to the world, yet He’s telling us that He knows how weak we are, He knows how simple we are, He knows how unworthy we are, He knows our fallen and sinful nature. Still, though, He chooses to let His light shine in us. He chooses to fill us with His agape love. He chooses to give us His divine knowledge and wisdom. He chooses to share His priceless treasure of hope and love and salvation with us. He chooses to have us as His co-workers, offering us the honor to represent Him in the world!
We are instruments in God’s hands. We are His ambassadors to the world!
Well, if we understand and accept this privilege, then we need to further reflect on what it means. Think of the incredible respect and love God has for each one of us, yet also ask yourself how to act as an ambassador and an instrument of the Lord. Thankfully, we get some very clear direction in the Gospel reading of today. To be a faithful ambassador of the Lord, we need to:
- Treat others the way we want to be treated (live by the Golden Rule)
- Love not only those who love us but love those who don’t love us
- Freely give to those who ask from us help expecting nothing in return
- Love even our enemies and do good to those who hate us
- Be kind to the ungrateful and generous to the selfish
- Ultimately, Christ calls us to be just as merciful to others as our heavenly father is merciful to us
This surely sounds like a challenging task! Do you still want to be an ambassador of Christ if you have to live this way? That’s a serious question we must ask ourselves because this is what God expects from His followers.
We must live in a different way than much of the world. We must learn to control our anger and curb our desire for our own perceived justice. We don’t treat others as they deserve, we treat them as God treats us – with mercy and love and grace. We don’t judge and condemn others for their failings but we love them despite their shortcomings, we love them where they’re at and try to show them a path to a new way of life. We share generously in all we have because we understand life as a lavish gift that God has given us and know that He expects us to share our gifts with others! We show just as much mercy to others as God shows to us!
When one truly lives under the reign of God, we experience His love and grace every day. We feel the joy and peace of His Presence. We love life and are filled with gratitude for all the gifts of life! We know we are His children, inheritors of His kingdom, and thus, we accept the call to act as His representatives in the world.
So let us leave this church and enter into the upcoming week acting as worthy ambassadors of Christ. May we offer this prayer every morning and remember it throughout the day and with whomever we meet, let us strive to act as instruments in God’s hands, bringing His peace, love, healing, pardon, comfort, joy, hope, faith and divine light to all people! Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.