Proclaiming and Witnessing

How do you see yourself as a believer in God in relationship to other people, no matter if they are believers in God or not? How has your relationship with God changed the way you interact with people, regardless of if they are believers in God or not? If you find yourself having any difficulties figuring that question out, try thinking about ways that you express your relationship with God outwardly rather than privately.

Whatever your answer is, consider it as you answer this question. How do I see myself as part of those who call themselves people of God? We all should think of ourselves in ways that identify us with being part of the people of God, in the truest sense of how you define the phrase, people of God. This is not only as someone who is part of this local congregation or even as a member of the denomination called United Methodists, but simply as part of the people of God universally.

I am one of six children who were led and taught by two strong parents. While growing up, I normally saw myself as part of a larger group that grew to include many concentric circles of people groups, community and educational connections, and religious and professional associations throughout my life. This understanding of being part of a people of God was always part of me.

It is not something that everyone feels, because everyone does not feel that connection. I have felt left out of group settings because of moving into new neighborhoods, schools, joining sports teams, or because of my racial identification.

Even so, I could still rely on family and other close connections as a refuge from the harshness of not being included or rejected. They gave me a sense of belonging that was loving and comforting. I also, made it a point to strengthen my connections with my family and the other people that I felt were part of my shared group of friends or other affiliations.

I felt that the best part of being associated with a group was the way that I felt about the people who were in my chosen group. I would talk about my family, friends, neighborhood, schools, and teams to other people who I would meet from time to time with pride and joy.

We usually go through a process to see ourselves as part of a group and often it is when others have made us feel bad about ourselves that we found our group connections made us feel secure, and we felt good about being part of them. After that, we felt like telling others about the group because they chose us, and we responded by choosing them too.

In our faith journey, we recognize similar pathways to becoming part of the people of God, if that is how we see ourselves. Although, it's God who gathers God's people together and gives them their purpose and identity. In 1 Peter 2:2-10, you will discover a message from Christ through the Apostle Peter to the people he wanted to know were God's people, and what they are called to do as people of God. Read that part of the letter, I hope it resonates with you as people of God. Amen.

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