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Merry Christmas: The greatest gift is freely given to all, nothing needed in return


By J. Hogan

One of the things we believe in at Faithbridge, that’s quite different from the Roman Catholic Church of my youth, is the “priesthood of the believer.”

The concept is simple. Jesus invested in folks through a traditional Hebraic, rabbinical process called discipleship, and that began the Christian chain of ministry, and ministry training, which continues down through the years to today and beyond.

In the process, folks actively engage in ministry as they learn.

Some are called to vocational ministry, others to specific care ministries and others to the ministry of blessing others with the truths they come to understand and the love of Christ which they are called to live out among their neighbors, coworkers and family.

In this, no one is left out. All have divine opportunities. Divine appointments, you might (and we do) say.

Hands down the greatest gift ever given is the gift of God himself. He did not have to create us.

He did not have to send Jesus, his son, God incarnate, to bridge the chasm of rejection and sin that keeps us from experiencing God in the glorious manner intended.

Yet, God did. That’s why each year we celebrate the birth of that little child to an unwed teenager 2,000 years ago.

In sending the Christ, God also made it possible for everyone to have a truly transcendent life, a life where each of us can have those divinely construed relationships which grow and shape us. He invited us to share in things eternal, to participate in things by which others might come to know him and have their forever destiny and life now radically transformed.

Over the years, I’ve watched mentally challenged people minister to others in their time of pain, and I’ve seen some habitually angry people become peacemakers.

I’ve seen day laborers share the gospel with addicts hired to work alongside them for the day, and some addicts begin a journey of freedom right there.

I’ve seen an overworked single mother damaged by life become a pillar in our community because of the calling on her life, which she found in her relationship with God.

We don’t fool ourselves into thinking we “save” anyone.

We’re grateful to be afforded the opportunity to have a small role in amazing things which are, by nature, above our paygrade.

The gift of Jesus ushered in another gift… the gift of everyone having an opportunity to participate in the divine. The priesthood of the believer.

Rev. James Hogan is a Stowe native and serves as pastor of Faithbridge Community Church in Stowe Township.


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