For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:38-39
Years ago there was a group, some called it a cult, that made its center of activities near Washington Square Park. Members of this group wore t-shirts that said, “Get Smart, Get Saved!” They would stop people on the sidewalk and in the park and ask them if they were “saved.” You can imagine the reaction from most of the folks in Greenwich Village.
For some reason, one day I stopped to respond to one of these missionaries. When asked whether I had been saved, I said, “Yes, I have.” He beamed broadly (very happy that someone actually responded, and to get this answer) and asked me to recount the details of my conversion. “Well,” I replied, “I grew up in the church and did not have a Paul-type experience with a blinding light or anything like that, so I don’t have much to tell you.” He looked at me oddly, then expressed doubts as to whether or not I was actually saved. He gave me a flyer and invited me to one of his group’s meetings. Ultimately we went in our separate directions.
I think it is remarkable that, four decades later, I still vividly remember this encounter. And just as I knew then, I know now that I have indeed been “saved,” however you want to define it. Maybe not the way the Washington Square missionary meant it, but that does not matter. We did not use this kind of language in my church or my family growing up, but I still know. I have known it all my life. It is why we baptize babies. It is why the words of the Assurance of Pardon are recited every Sunday in worship. I know it because of Easter, because God’s love is there for us, always, just ahead of us and next to us. And nothing can separate us from that love, which we know
God, we know that you are with us always and that nothing can separate us from your love and forgiveness. Please give us comfort in this knowledge and strength in facing our challenges every day. We pray this in the name of Jesus, who shows us the way. Amen.
Ken Henderson is president of the Board of Trustees.