Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Christ to the World?

It surprises me how often people in church will hear messages about forgiveness, grace, and mercy and it will not affect their lives. Messages rail against the Pharisees and their legalistic lines in the sand to define who’s in and who’s out, and in our own lives we don’t talk, fellowship, or associate with certain people because their “not christian.” We claim to be Christian but our lives are not defined by grace, forgiveness, love, kindness, but rather by a black and white world view, condensation, and brow beating. We’re known by what we don’t believe and not by what believe. We are known by our actions but our actions are negative, voting against abortion, voting against gay marriage, not going to parties/bars, not cussing, by not doing things instead of doing things. We’ve turned the social aspect of the gospel into social conservatism, trying to keep it how we define moral. There is no activity that subverts social empire; there is not any movement that ignores society’s actions that is acts proactively toward new creation. We have lost ourselves in the forest of society, and have resigned ourselves to playing by their rules. We are trying to survive by treading water instead of swimming toward shore. We do not realize that Christ is subjecting all things to himself, including entropy, chaos, and disillusion. We have come to believe that we cannot change the world and have resigned ourselves to merely “saving souls” from the world. This is a self-defeating mentality. We are Christ’s body and our calling is to act in the reality that the resurrection inaugurated the new creation. A new creation that involves loving our neighbor like ourselves: feeding those in need, giving to him who asks, acting for justice for those around us (both situational and institutional), creating beauty where chaos and ugliness are the norm, forgiving those who wrong us (letting them know that they are forgiven), going out of our way to help those around us. It is time we get out of this defeated, unimaginative mentality that we cannot change things around us. Jesus is reigning and we are given the strength and wisdom to act in such a way that helps to bring his reign to bear on earth. We pray, “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” yet our lives demonstrate that we expect this to be fulfilled only when Christ returns, forgetting that we are his body, his stewards, his “hands and feet” on earth. Many of us don’t believe (we say we do, but our lives and mentality betray us) in miracles happening today, yet when we pray the Lord’s Prayer (partially quoted above) we are essentially asking him to do the miracles that we don’t believe happen today. Much of our in action is due to a humility that is under a false pretense. We have confused boldness for pride, cowardice for humility, but above all we do not want to responsibility that comes with acting as Christ in the world today. We do not want people looking at us, we want to live our lives unnoticed, in quiet oblivion. Much like the third servant we have buried our talent and will be expecting the Master to be happy with us. Its time to stop shirking this responsibility, Christ has called us to live for Him, to be small Christs to those around us, to help inaugurate his new creation in this world. Its time to start acting as Christ and not the Pharisees biding their time till the Messiah comes in the way we expect him to. Why are we so backwards at continuing Christ’s work in the world?

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