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Who are you? Midweek Musing for 9-1-22

It is that time of the year when I have to introduce myself a bunch.

The start of school leads to the start of all kinds of activities, often with new groups of people, and at the beginning of such events, folks are asked to introduce themselves.

So how do you introduce yourself?

Usually, for me, it depends on the setting.

Sometimes I am Clay Gunter – Assistant Principal of Sixes Elementary School. Sometimes I am Clay – Laura’s husband. Sometimes I am Clay Gunter the Commissioned Ruling Elder (fancy Presbyterian term for Lay Pastor) at LaFayette Presbyterian Church. Sometimes I am Brittany and/or Sydney’s dad.

Sometimes I am Joan and Sid’s Son. Or I introduce myself as Keith or Mandy’s brother. I introduce myself as Uncle Clay every once in a while. I probably could come up with lots of other ways I might introduce myself.

However, the truth is that all of those descriptions are not exactly correct. Those descriptions are really roles I play. Sometimes I get a choice in those roles like being an assistant principal, and some were given to me like being a son or brother.

But the truth of WHO I AM is far deeper than those descriptions.

At the beginning of each of Paul’s letters to various groups, he introduces himself. It was the custom of the day. Folks couldn’t look at the return address to see who sent a letter. So, Paul says at the start who sent the letter.

Now Paul could just begin by saying greetings from Paul. Or greetings from Paul and Timothy and then get into the letter. But that is not what he does.

In every epistle, he does more. He introduces who he is by declaring who he belongs to and who he serves.

Paul - A servant of Jesus Christ.

Paul - An apostle called to serve Jesus Christ.

Paul - A prisoner for Jesus Christ.

While Paul is a writer and an evangelist and a Jew and a citizen of Rome and a church planter and a lawbreaker and a friend and a colleague – Paul knows those are things he does and the roles he plays. It is not ultimately who he is.

Instead, what Paul knows and what helps him endure even the hard days (and he had many, many hard days) is the remembrance that he is a child of God.

Such knowledge helped him to write with conviction those powerful words – “That in life and even in death we belong to God.” (Romans 14:8)

Friends, that is true for Paul and for you and for me and for all of the world -whether we like it or not.

Even if we don’t believe it. Because the truth is the truth. We are all children of God and our life and even our death belongs to our Holy Creator.

So, friends while you might not introduce yourself as a child of God at the next meeting of the Historical Society or PTA or another group you are with, remember that ultimately that is who you are – an unrepeatable miracle – a child of God who loves you as if you were the only one to love.

Thanks be to God for who we all truly are by the grace of God.

Alleluia Amen.

Clay Gunter


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