Reading back my previous post , I realise that much of what I wrote still resonates deeply within. In fact, in many ways, even further away from having been a ‘professional’ Christian and being ‘churched’, I feel just as passionate about the transforming message and power of the story we’ve all been invited to be part of.
I know that potentially, that sounds utterly ridiculous.
How can I on one hand claim that following Jesus really is the best way to live our lives, and yet on the other be quite some distance away from a normal understanding of what it means to live that life out?
I suppose that the simplest way to explain this is by re-emphasising just how radical and transformational the Jesus story actually is. This moves beyond ‘being saved’ in the traditional sense, where what matters is our personal response to the salvation story, and much more into what the story means for the whole of our society.
You see, if being called to follow Jesus is about our personal ticket to heaven, then we’ve utterly lost the plot. Good news has to be better than that.
Being called to follow Jesus means a world turned upside down. It means the kingdom of greed and consumerism usurped by the Kingdom of love and sacrifice, where we’re measured not so much by what we’ve gained, but instead by what we’re willing to give up. If we get this right, our world will be set on fire – burning away all that holds us back from achieving our potential.
Good news for the whole world…
It means breaking down national borders, rejecting fear and division, them and us (such comforting thoughts in dark times), and viewing every single human as a beautiful work of art created in the image of their creator. We begin to see our neighbours not as competitors, but as fellow pilgrims – each of us struggling to make sense of our universe – frequently getting it wrong and yet somehow still deeply loved and forgiven by the only One who could ever judge us.
Good news for every single one of us…
Following Jesus means knowing that we can’t be spectators, that we’re all invited to be instigators of the most radical and revolutionary idea that the world has ever know – that another way is possible. We refuse to lose ourselves to cynicism, to give up our hope, to chose apathy over empathy. We choose to care, and, if necessary, to allow ourselves to be broken as we join in the struggle to bring about a better world.
Good news that we can’t hold in and feel compelled to share…
I believe that the exciting reality of this story is that although the church is this most beautiful yet weird, powerful yet fragile of institutions – God can and still does work through it in many remarkable and awe inspiring ways. And yet, I also believe that God is at work well beyond its doors in the most incredible ways through the most unlikely kinds of people. Wherever we see communities of love and hope – sacred or secular – we see God at work…I’m utterly convinced of that.
For all of that, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I really do believe that this stuff is worth telling and showing others about. I’m utterly convinced that it is still relevant, that is still makes the most sense, even when everything else seems to tell us that it’s utter nonsense.
We are more than just a bundle of cells struggling to ensure the survival of our species.
We are loved.
We are called to love.
This is surely worth living for and shouting about (sometimes, we may even use words…!).
Good news worth every last bit of our time, energy and love…