Isaiah promises that the Messiah to come will come as a suffering servant. This would have been an unexpected and unwelcome announcement by those who desired a warrior-like king to redeem them from their enemies. Yet, as Jesus walked the Emmaus Road with the disciples, he likely not only identified himself as the suffering servant, he probably invited the disciples to consider how they might heed God’s call for the faithful to see themselves as freed from the powers of empires that we all might be servants of the Almighty.
We hear the word ‘justice’ thrown around a lot these days. “Social justice,” “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” “justice for Breonna Taylor,” and so on. Micah, among other prophets, also used the word as a primary instruction to the people of God, saying, “Do justice.” Before we can understand what it means to ‘do’ this thing called justice, we have to understand what the Bible means by ‘justice’ itself. With over 400 uses in the Biblical text, the Word of God makes clear what is ‘justice.’
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?
It is Easter in Exile, and God has a promise, that in Christ, in the resurrection, a new covenant is born. May this season of exile in our lives lead us to claim God’s promise not just for ourselves, but for everyone born, that everyone may know God’s almighty love.
In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul had a specific focus in his teaching, and it wasn’t covenantal, faithful, sacred, and permanent relationships between two people of any gender … it was acts that abused, broke covenant, and forced unfaithful, non-sacred, adulterous sexual acts on others. To claim the Biblical truth, we must look to the historic text, and claim a more faithful, long-standing, and traditional understanding of Paul’s teaching.
The Biblical text never promises wealth and prosperity to the faithful. What it does promise, is peace, well-being, and unity among the gathered faithful. The English translation fails us when it replaces God’s vision of shalom, with our worldly visions of extravagant wealth.
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.
“Zacchaeus was a wee little man …” or was he? Sometimes it helps to revisit the Biblical text to claim the truth of God’s Holy Word. This story may not be about repentance; perhaps it’s about revelation.
The hope of saying “It’s all in God’s plan” is to offer comfort and solace. It hints that because it’s God’s will, God will help us through it. But ‘Everything Happens for a Reason’ is not a true Christian affirmation.