Homily for Ash Wednesday
In today’s Second Reading, St. Paul uses a curious phrase, “Brothers and sisters: We are ambassadors for Christ.” What does he mean? Paul Tripp is a pastor, speaker and author. He writes about this idea of being an “ambassador for Christ.”
First, we are not only recipients of saving grace. We have been called to help bestow that grace to others. The Pastor, the parish staff, Sunday school teacher and youth group leader aren’t the only ministers. School teachers, tennis instructors, financial experts, moms, police officers are also called to be ambassadors for Christ. Everywhere.
Second, did you every watch “Madam Secretary?” Being a political ambassador isn’t limited by forty hours a week, certain state events, or times of international crisis. A political ambassador is always on call, all the time. In terms of being a “spiritual ambassador,” This in not just a “religious activity” that we perform during particular times in our schedule. An ambassador for Christ is a lifestyle. someone defined it as
- “Intentional behavior,
- Based on a code of conduct,
- That can be clearly identified,
- And pointed to by others, as distinctive.
Third, ambassadors don’t get to pick and choose to whom they speak. The President or the King tells them where they’re going and to whom they will speak. As ambassadors of Christ, we represent God’s purposes to the people He places in our lives. Sometimes this is planned and organized, like when we attend a bible study. MOST times this encounter is random, unexpected and serendipitous. When it happens, the primary question on our mind should be: “How can I best represent the King in this place, with this particular person?”
In closing, here are 3 questions related to being an Ambassador for Christ that we can consider during Lent:
- In what ways have I reduced ministry down to an organized activity on my calendar?
- Where is God specifically calling me to die to myself so I can live for a kingdom much bigger than my own?
- Who is God calling me to engage with to discuss the “the ministry of reconciliation?”
Audio version of the homily is here: