Saturday, October 20, 2007

Reflection On The Second Letter Of Paul to Timothy

Reflection On The Second Letter Of Paul To Timothy, Chapter 1:3-14.
Title; “Do not be ashamed to suffer for the gospel”.
© Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay, October 2007. Pastor, House Of Rainbow MCC, Lagos Nigeria.

To be ashamed is linked with denial, rejection, isolation etc. People or a systematic institution must have coerced, with pressure mentally, physically, psychologically to bring shame on you or me. When we live in the hope of the almighty God, we are destined to know the truth, see the light, and breathe the air of freedom, liberation and validation. And the only way we can do that is to arrive at the truth, the inclusive gospel of Jesus Christ, which has no boundaries or restrictions or conditions. We can boldly say “We fight the good fight of faith, laying hold of the eternal life to which we are summoned we confess the good confession before many witnesses” 1 Timothy 6:12.

2 Timothy 1:3-5 says, “I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you”. Here there is recognition of faith which existed in our liberating ancestors, we can name them, Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Dare Odumuye, those that have passed away, and those who are still with us, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Troy Perry, Nancy Wilson, Mercy Oduyoye, Edwin Cameron and yet we can pray into existence those yet to come. No one is left out of the blessing of hope and faith. We are a pillar of hope. Grandmothers, grandfathers, women, men, Europeans, Africans, heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. The bible says “If we have faith like a grain of mustard seed, we can say to this mountain move from here to another place and it will move and nothing will be impossible to me” Matthew 17v20. That is why a collective Global inclusive mission is so important. To remember each other constantly in prayers night and day is part of our major call to ministry. 1 Cor 2v5 says “My faith does not rest in the wisdom of humans but in the power of God”. Paul reminded us through his letter to Timothy, of our sincere faith. The bible unequivocal in its narratives about two women, a grandmother called Lois and another by name Eunice. This is clear evidence of our claim to female power and encouragement through the female gender. I am not ashamed to admit on a recent trip to Edinburgh I went to a swimming session for Trans people, I was told I qualify because I have got trans feet or tranny feet, I occasionally indulge in wearing women’s high heel shoes.

2 Timothy 1:6 says; “For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands”. What is the gift we are reminded of? a gift given to us from God, we have it, we always do, we cannot give away what we don’t have, when we pray for acquisition and it is granted by God, remember it is for a purpose, to give them away, such as encouragement, love, money, prayers, we simply cannot transmit what we do not have. We are reminded of the gifts and relationship between communities, by way of liberating spirit, spiritual planting of love, travailing prayers of the saints and angels, taking upon you the weakness and burden of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people in marginalized communities, such as Africa, Eastern Europe, South America etc. These are part of the gift we are reminded to rekindle.

2 Timothy 1:7 says, for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. I acknowledge and bear witness to what God is doing in Nigeria where we have a new church plant, building a place of faith, love and self discipline. Dedication to serve through a well organized ministry that fights the good fight and be the voice and face of those who are unable to represent themselves, is an invigorating experience. When you sign petitions to end discrimination, you make yourselves available, to show the world that we are not afraid nor are we ashamed of the inclusive gospel of Jesus that includes you and me and many other people.

2 Timothy 1:8 says, Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, The work of the ministry is team effort, whether in London, Los Angeles, or Lagos. The gospel must reach every corner of the earth, people in our community must know that we are LGBTI Christians, I found sometimes it is easier to say I am homosexual, or divorced or a single mother, or co habiting with my spouse than to say that I am a Christian. We have the ability to pray and encourage, just as Paul in this text is truly there for Timothy. Make a list of people in your prayers and actively pray for them. An invitation to the deep waters of love, will give people a new life.

2 Timothy 1:9, says, “who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to God’s own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,” First we were saved, and then called, not according to our own record or curriculum vitae or resume, but according to God’s divine purpose and grace. That is why the bible was clear in 1 Cor 6v9 “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God?...” In preparation for this call, in verse 11b, the bible tells us (paraphrased) “we were washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the spirit of our God” therefore we are prepared. Sometimes we conclude that we cannot do this or that, when you socialize, you can just tell people how you have been blessed and they will be amazed. Have you ever tried before? This is the time to give ministry a chance, and invite more people to a life with Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 1:10 says, “But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”. The birth and death of Christ brings new life of hope to us. Christ abolished death by dieing for us, Romans 5v8 says “God proves God’s love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us”. We need not be guilty or restless about who we are, we need to co ordinate our lives with reference to the scriptures, leading a good life and rejoicing in the blessings of the risen Christ. Many of us are alive to Self hatred but dead to Self love. Many of us are alive to destructive behaviors and dead to self esteem. Many of us are alive to making snide remarks and putting ourselves down and dead to positive thinking and motivation. We are unable to reconcile our sexuality with our Christian faith. I can say today that I am a gay Christian and celebrate who I am and not be ashamed to say I am a Happy Holy Homosexual, even in difficult circumstances. The death of Christ brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Why are we called in to ministry?

2 Timothy 1:11-12 says, “For this gospel I was appointed a herald (a leader, a fore runner) and an apostle (a spiritual leader) and a teacher (associated with wisdom), and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him”. We cannot step into ministry without suffering, the bible was quite clear when it say you must deny your father and mother and then follow Jesus, that was a hard thing to do. We are called to suffer for the sake of the kingdom of God, it is not always easy in difficult situations to stand and be a Christian. 1 Peter 3:8-9, 13-18 says, “…, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil. For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit”,

2 Timothy 1:13-14, “Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us”. Prophet Isaiah said in Chapter 41v10, “I fear not, for God is with me. I do not look around in terror and be dismayed, for God is my God. God will strengthen and harden me to difficulties, yes, God will help me, yes, God will hold me up and retain me with God’s right hand of rightness and justice”. Prophet Isaiah like many of us today had something to say, make a note of these proclamations, and have faith in God, we need not live in fear everyday. Micah 6v8 “O ye mortal, what is good and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and walk humbly with your God?” In my conclusion, I want to congratulate you all for being a part of the mission of Jesus Christ, spreading the love and inclusive gospel, joy, liberation, validation of Jesus Christ in your local community and as far as the world enable you to reach. Now you can say with boldness I am not ashamed to suffer for the gospel. Rev

Rowland Jide Macaulay, is the Pastor of House Of Rainbow MCC, Lagos Nigeria; Ordained minister of the gospel ten years ago, he is gay, an author of many articles, anthologies, and two books. An MCC minister since 2005, he holds a law degree from Thames Valley University London and a Masters degree in theology from United Bible University Nigeria, he is preparing for his doctorate in theology.

No comments: