Tempted to rain dance on my front lawn, as torrential rain stoated down, I praised God for His amazing Grace that is for all. What a spell of brawsome weather we’ve enjoyed in May & June, and like the air we breathe it’s free, gatis, gift from our gracious Creator God. Alas, us humans all too easily skew, misquote and misunderstand God and God’s Word. How many times have I heard folk say, “Aye, the sun shines on the righteous!” as if to say, God’s sunshine is only for the good and godly, and withheld from the bad and ungodly. NAW!

Here’s what Jesus really said, “God gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” (NLT) Of course how God’s gracious gifts are received, or not, is up to us humans, gratefully or ungratefully, knowingly or ignorantly, faithfully or faithlessly, with hearts open or closed to God’s Love overflowing our daily lives, whatever the weather.

Yesterday we had the deep joy and high privilege of admitting 12 new members to the Fullarton Church Family, and wider Church Family of Christ. This included 3 baptisms and 3 soaked blessings in the sea. The tide was well in, the temperature over 20 degrees, and a great crowd gathered to celebrate all that Christ has done and continues to do for, in, and through these faithful followers. It was moving to hear Candice tell her story of reaching rock bottom in prison, attending an Alpha course there and turning her life over to Christ. Her brother Charles preached, helped with the baptisms, and testified to the power of heartfelt prayer. Charles has also known the transforming love and power of Christ, converting him from local addict and drug baron to a son of God who now helps others to break the chains of sin and addiction and find new life in Christ. What a joy to celebrate all that Jesus has won for us by living, dying and rising from the dead, halleluiah what a Saviour! All the kudos, praise and glory belongs to God!

And here’s how Jesus describes the new life and living He has won for and offers us freely, a gift we can accept or reject, but which, like the air we breathe, and sun and rain we bathe in, is costly but free. It’s all about growing up into our baptism and identity in Christ and behaving in the same way towards others as God behaves towards us, good, bad, just, unjust, beautiful, awful, etc :

Matthew 5:43-48 / MSG – “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the supple moves of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”