Friday, April 21, 2006

What if God was one of us...

Some people want to live within the sound of chapel bells,
but I want to run a mission a yard from the gates of hell.
-John Wesley

Is this not what I require of you as a fast?
To loose the fetters of injustice,
to untie the knots of the yoke,
to snap every yoke and set free those who have been crushed?
Is it not sharing your food with the hungry,
taking the homeless poor into your house,
clothing the naked when you meet them,
and never evading a duty to your family?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn...
-Isaiah 58:6-7

So often the "fasting" that the modern Christian thinks of or the church teaches by example or inference is focused on the individual Christian. It is all about you and saying NO to you. But the heart of the gospel is more about turning towards something or someone than putting the emphasis so heavily on turning from something.

The gospel of Jesus isn't about you saving you, it's about Jesus rescuing you, giving to you what you could not give yourself. A true fast is about grace. It is about receiving freely and in the spirit of generosity, cheerfulness and abundance not bowing ones head, deprivation and standing in the spot light of some holy roller sin search light.

The fast of God isn't about you.

The gospel celebration, the kingdom Jubilee is about announcing the good news that love has triumphed over judgment and God's house is open and all that the Father has is yours.

Jesus said He is the door and that door is open to all who would enter.

When you become the focus of all your spiritual primping, a religious OCD like preoccupation takes over and soon eclipses the true calling of Jesus which is to simply love others in very real and practical ways.

Standing in a sanctuary and praying for the world is really baby steps. Anyone can go out in the wilds and worship God and feel close to Him but that isn't the call of the gospel as Jesus lived it out. The true question is can we find Jesus in the wounds of our city and in the face of our neighbor?

Prayer is often just an excuse to not love.

So many people are waiting for God to move because they have become blinded to the reality that He is actually all around them but He has hidden himself in the hardened sinners, the broken and wasted, the indifferent and rebellious, the addicted, the underprivileged and poor, the vulnerable, the numb and complacent and the forgotten within our community. Anyone can love their friends but who will love their enemies? Anyone can serve the beautiful but who will befriend the unlovely? Everyone invites the funny guy but who will feed the difficult and odd? Everyone wants to talk to the superstars but who will sit on the street with the chubby kid that has no one to play with?

Can we hear heaven's worship in the cries of a drug addicted baby in ICU?
Can we hear the whispers of angels in the quiet voices of the elderly, left alone in the dark halls of a suburban nursing home?

When will the church wake up and stop being seduced by the spirit of this world that continually abuses the hearts and lives of people that Christ died for?

We seek to put on the very boot that is crushing the face of the poor.

There is no dawn in that path, only chasing after the wind.

Christ is here, among us, around us and waiting to be found by us.

Will we choose to open our eyes and really meet Him face to face or continue to pray to the heavens for God to come down again?

He might be sitting right next to you on the bus...


Matt said...

Wesely's quote is great. So is the post. I think most of us are afraid to some degree. We don't see things clearly and this causes us to fear. We find places that are safe and we can work in them and we stay there. We don't reach out beyond that because the unknown is scary. We cut our lives into a pie and divide it up for ourselves and give a little safety slice to God. The truth is we have hoarded most of it, and by doing so the little slice we shaved off for God is pretty much useless. I'm not saying I'm any better, I have all this on my plate, and that's why I relate. How much do I really believe in God, enough to give the whole pie? My whole life, even the secret corners? -Matt

Unknown said...

I so agree. So much of this season of my life is about bringing harmony back, wholeness and unity to the various parts of me. Standing out front of the building the other night, watching all the people around the block, talking and just being present there, was healing. To stand in your dreams and know that God is pleased, is a deep joy that is hard to express. I feel like the pie has been brought to the table in a more complete way, it is scary but there is a freedom in it too.

FCB said...

Both the comments are great. That quote of Wesly, which of course is such an example of his life and commitment to service, it made me think of Job when he said--
"I crushed the jaws of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth."
As both of you are putting on a new boot to crush the jaws of the wicked, it is a joyous season. My heart rejoices, although my mind is bombed with temptations to worry. This will be the most serious season of prayer for me.
It is scary, but what a mighty God we serve!

Matt said...


I imagine you as the white Holcombe Rucker. He was a black man that started a basketball tournament in the slums of New York to help get kids off drugs and away from crime. His legacy is so strong that probably every black person in America knows of him. I pray your new ministry is blessed in this way. I don't want to make your endeavor too large but what is too large for God? I was a kid on those streets, I was chased by satan and his drugs and crime, it was mentors that brought me through it, I believe God using mentors to do so. At any rate, I don't know what all your plans are but I just see that basketball court and that building and I imagine it as a fortress of God. I imagine you in front of that building and I am there with you in spirit and in prayer. If it's difficult it's because it supposed to be, you're fighting the good fight. love, Matt.