2 Corinthians, 5:15-21 (NRSV)
And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away. See, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world for himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
There’s certainly a lot to unpack in this short excerpt from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians! I believe that reconciliation is similar to God’s gift of grace; i.e., we aren’t required to do anything to receive it. It’s simply a gift from God. Further, God’s “ministry of reconciliation” is made available to everyone. When we are reconciled, we become a “new creation” and respond to God with gratitude. In Paul’s words, we become “ambassadors for Christ.”
So what does it mean to be an ambassador for Christ? I was recently surprised to learn that Stephani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (aka Lady Gaga) is a person of deep practicing faith. Her Catholic devotion is central to her life. She may exemplify the face of Christianity in the 21st century, an ambassador for Christ.
The aid workers I met during my trip to Uganda several years ago are ambassadors for Christ. They came from many countries. Most were recent college graduates, who loved what they were doing, despite acknowledged health and personal safety concerns. During my stay, I saw how they were literally saving lives on a daily basis.
But you don’t need to be a celebrity or travel to a far-away country to be an ambassador for Christ. When youth at LPC offer their musical talents on-line, they too become ambassadors for Christ. Like Lady Gaga and the aid workers in Uganda, they rely on their faith community to support them, and give back so much to the Glory of God. In Paul’s words, they are a “new creation” as ambassadors for Christ.
Lord, we are grateful for your ministry of reconciliation. We ask that you guide us in our prayers, teaching us how to listen to your will, so that we might become better ambassadors for Christ.