Scripture: Romans 3:19-31 (NIV)
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
We all know about the Jedi, those beings that had full control of the Force, who were powerful in every way, who could do amazing things with it. However, did you know that there were people in the Star Wars universe that could feel the Force, that knew of the Force personally, that weren’t Jedi? They couldn’t completely tap into that power, but they could still use it in their lives. Rogue One has two of them, Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus, who were guardians of the Jedi Temple on Jedha. In The Force Awakens, we meet Maz Kanata, an old being who states, “I am no Jedi, but I know the Force.” These people were termed Force-sensitive. Not fully Jedi, but a little more in tune with things than others.
There are a number of ways to go with that setup, I’ll admit, and I think there’s a great thought there about the people we consider “prayer warriors” and ourselves, but I’ll stick to the one that most closely hews to our Scripture reading today. Paul states that God is the God of the Jews and of the Gentiles. It was a radical concept in that day and age, to think that God’s love could stretch to encompass those already chosen (like the Jedi) and those that “weren’t” (the Force-sensitives). There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, because the one God created them all. In the same way, the Force could work through the Jedi, but it could also find expression in those that hadn’t dedicated themselves to the Jedi order, that hadn’t been through the training, that might not even all that talented.
There’s a tendency at times to think that this denomination is doing it wrong or that church isn’t really what God intended. What we can never forget, whether dealing with congregations or individual people, is that God is God over everyone and He loves everyone, no matter what. Let us be sensitive to that in our routines!