Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:10
At the age of eight, Guor Marial ran through the darkness, as he tried to escape child slavery in a labor camp in the Sudan.
Coming from the south part of Sudan, Mr. Marial lost 28 members of his family to the persecution, which has taken place there. Millions of his people have been killed by government forces.
That's why, when refugee Guor Marial ran in the Olympic marathon yesterday he was running as a man without his country. Yes, the Sudan asked him to run under its flag, but he couldn't do that. Marial said, "For me to even consider that is a betrayal."
He summed up the situation saying, "Even if I am not going to carry or wear the flag, I will be the flag of my nation. South Sudan will be in my heart."
A Christian who forgives what was done to his people and family, it sounds as if Marial had a good understanding of the words of St. Peter: "Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people."
As are we.
While Christians in North America are not bombed and our houses are not machine gunned at night, we also are beginning to find ourselves coming under persecution.
Students are belittled for their faith; businesses are taken to task for their standards and beliefs. To take a stand against the erosion of morality and family is to run the risk of being ostracized and to stand for the Savior is becoming increasingly hard.
Still, once we weren't a people, but now we are.
We are part of God's Kingdom of grace. It is a large kingdom, really. It has no border, so its citizens can be found all around the world. They are of different colors, backgrounds, cultures and heritages, but they are bound together by this: they are sinners who have been redeemed by the blood of the Son of God.
The race they run, they run to bring glory to Him; they run to give thanks for the Redeemer, who is in their hearts.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for making us part of Your Kingdom, for saving us from the slavery of sin, the devil and death, we give thanks. Now may we run the race before us, with dignity and praise in our hearts. This we ask in the Name of our crucified and risen King. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries