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.
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 reason the American Dream is such a farce, is that America started with a vision that not all people were created equal – regardless what the Constitution says. But as the church, as God’s people, we are called to proclaim God’s love for all people, and that means speaking up for and sharing God’s love with those who are treated as outcasts.
Paul makes it clear that if we’re living according to God’s desire, our first focus – our primary desire – will be the cares, interests, and concerns of others. How does our stewardship – our giving of time, talent, and treasure – support this call?
It’s hard to image a world with no war, no competition, no division, and no sorrow. For us, it might even be unimaginable. But, this is exactly the body God has created in Christ. This is exactly the body empowered by God with the Spirit. This is the beauty of humanity formed by God in creation.
Too many people see the empty tomb, but fail to see the presence of the risen Lord in their midst. The good news of Easter Sunday is not just that the Lord is risen, it’s that the risen Lord is calling your name, and inviting you to receive the gift of new life.
Jonah wasn’t just unfaithful because he tried to run from God, he was unfaithful because he didn’t want the Ninevites to experience God’s grace. Too often we also try to withhold God’s grace from those we consider outcast, sinful, or foreign. Yet, God does not withhold grace from anyone, much to our displeasure.
“Mary Did you Know” is a horrible song, which assumes that this pre-teen unwed pregnant female couldn’t have possible been intelligent enough to know about the child she carried. But in her own words, Mary makes clear, she knows the goodness of God that will come from the baby boy, who will one day save the nations.
Easter is not a call to return to the way things were. It is a reminder that in Christ’s resurrection, God’s love wins out over death. It is an invitation to see ourselves redeemed in the reflection of God’s grace, as we hear our name called by the risen Lord, that we may go forth to share the good news, that Christ the Lord is risen today!
We are so quick to point out the faults in others, especially as it gives us a beneficial leg-up or increase in personal well-being. But Jesus refuses to engage with those who skew the Biblical word for personal gain. On which side of the proverbial line in the sand do you stand?