Recently we said goodbye to one of our community members.
To celebrate his life we gathered in a park with people who live in the area, sang songs and shared stories. The park we met in was his home, and a beautiful home it was, his bedroom was a small shelter with a park bench right next to the ball diamond.
Many people from the area would bring Jeff tea and food, and he in turn, would shovel driveways, help carry groceries etc. One couple provided a lockable storage unit on their property so that he could have a dry set of clothes, sleeping gear and food available.
This is such a clear picture of what the "Kingdom is like”. Valuing people because they are created in God’s image, not because of their success, appearance or even life choices.
We are working through a series based on the parable of the Kingdom of God and I pray that we find ways to participate in the Kingdom that speak of love so clearly as the story of our friend Jeff and his neighbourhood.
“Christianity preaches the infinite worth of that which is seemingly worthless and the infinite worthlessness of that which is seemingly so valued.” -Bonhoeffer
Often our eyes are drawn to the shiny things of the world, and yet, God reminds us that in the world to come the “gold” of this world will be the pavement in the next.
Jesus’s upside down Kingdom, where the first is last and the last is first”, can be a challenge to live out while struggling through the systems of this world. We can be drawn to think that success is achieved when others approve of us, when we are healthy, when we make more money, when we are promoted, and yet none of those things will last; we will eventually let people down, health will fail, money will run out and power will fade.
My goal is to seek out the hidden beauty, to seek out the hidden gold that we often miss, and I pray that you will join me in this treasure hunt.
“Your real, new self (which is Christ's and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom, Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
Insofar as the event is interpreted, Easter has a very this-worldly, present-age meaning: Jesus is raised, so he is the Messiah, and therefore he is the world’s true Lord; Jesus is raised so God’s new creation has begun - and we, his followers, have a job to do! Jesus is raised, so we must act as his heralds, announcing his lordship to the entire world, making his kingdom come on earth as in heaven! - N.T. Wright
I love the new…a new sketchbook, a new canvas, fresh fields of snow with no footprints….there are so many possibilities. Sometimes when we approach the new there is fear: what if I make a mistake? How do I begin?
As an artist I recognise that some of my greatest work has come from making mistakes. I take a detour from the norm by making a mess and something good comes out of it.
What if we took this approach to 2018? What if we gave up the fear of being wrong and focused on creating beauty for others to see?
In the journey of our community, we are unsure of exactly where we are going. We can’t see the whole path ahead but we do know who makes the path.