Why do we value multi-tasking so much? Why is American individualism defined by busyness? Perhaps we should slow down and acknowledge God’s call, not for our own exceptionalism, but for a unified global well-being.
Listening is redemptive; it has the power to change lives and communities. If we’re going to see positive change in the world – if we’re going to see positive change in our own community – we have to start listening.
In recent weeks, if it wasn’t already known, it has become quite clear, we are an ungrateful people. We need a reset to rethink our relationships, our expectations, and our place in the community. We need, like the healed Samaritan Leper, to be a bit more grateful for the life – the new life – we are offered in Jesus Christ.
Whatever your worry – whatever binds you from being everything God has created you to be – through the power of God in Jesus Christ, you are loosed. The love of God in Jesus Christ frees you from all that keeps you from living into God’s will for your life. And there is but one proper response: the community rejoices. Your freedom is my freedom; Jesus’ freedom is our freedom.
God has blessed this world with more than we would ever need. And yet, so many still go without. As Christ was our example, our call is not to offer temporary relief that retains one’s oppression, but to offering freeing love that gives new life.
As we consider what it means to be a Community Catalyst, what does that look like in the world today where the church is not the withholder of power, but still proclaims God’s power? How does the church not be the gatekeeper of grace, but still proclaims our freedom from sin and death, made possible by grace? How does the church not require acclimation, but still proclaims Christ as the truth and the way? How does the church actively work as Christ did, to free the oppressed, to heal the sick, to give life to the dying, while not claiming glory or attention for ourselves, but giving thanks to God in heaven above?
The celebration of Christmas is not just about the hope and promise that the world will be made whole. It’s not just about God coming so “everyone else” can receive new life. Christmas is about acknowledging the brokenness in your own life, and the promise of God in Christ to make you whole, to give you hope, to give you new life.
“We’ve always done it that way” is one of the least faithful responses to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit gifts us for far greater freedom than being slaves to our past. There is a more faithful way.
Jesus demonstrates for us an alternative approach to engaging with those in our mission fields. He doesn’t just say God’s love is available for “whosoever,” Jesus demonstrates what it means to offer that love to “whosoever.”
Paul helped structure the early church to live into God’s desire for the Church. Only, hierarchy and power perverted that design. Building up bigger buildings for ourselves, the church in America looks very little like what Paul envisioned. To reclaim that vision is challenging, but it’s necessary work to become who God has created us to be.