What if we did this??
Just imagine. . . How do you respond to this?
So many thoughts as I write . . .
but they all surround one idea: the love of God changes things when it is unleashed.
While I am not really a Facebook fan, it does allow some universal connection with friends old and new, near and far. The other day a woman I trust posted the video of a testimony from the founder of the South African Satanist church who was radically changed when he encountered the love of God. While I do not advise messing with the dark side in any fashion, this did not go there - the man was legit. A short snippet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbWkUwUwJOQ
The thing that opened the door for our new brother (pictured) was the unconditional love he felt from a Christian woman. As he talked about it, he got emotional about how he had never felt love like that, especially from a Christian. Hmmm . . .
Granted, his tattoos are scary looking, but I’m wondering how often we let someone’s appearance stop us from being kind. Like do we let someone’s rough exterior impact the way we treat them? Hmmm. . .
The Old Testament contains the history of God’s people. From the beginning, first they are faithful to God, then they turn aside, caught up in other things, finding other things more interesting. God warns them through various prophets, (such as Isaiah--just finished reading that long, rich book); correction and consequences come, the people repent and return to God, always having to learn the hard way. Then came Jesus.
Jesus changed the entire way people related to God . . . forever. The arresting thing about Jesus – why he came and what he did when he came – was his unconditional love. Because of his love, Jesus did not desire for us to be single devotees or worshipers of him, but communities gathering together to love him, to love each other and to draw other people to that great love.
Always reading Scripture in context, in its setting, as we finish out Ephesians chapter two, I had thought just to include the link of how Paul described the above transformation from Old Testament faith life to life in Christ, but it is just too important not to include it here in full, from the Message, which is a beautiful rendering:
“But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.
14-15 The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.
16-18 Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.
19-22 That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.”
In Jesus, there are no outsiders, only a sense and a place of belonging. In that belonging, we experience more fully the love of Christ, which changes everything.
And think of it - God wants to use the love you have for him to impact those around you... those you encounter. Think about that--what if you were instrumental in turning someone's life totally around--from darkness to light? Crazy, right--because you shared the love of Jesus Christ?
Let’s be more aware and take some risks in expressing love. Because after all, this is the big adventure and I love it!