I John 3:18

All original content copyright Jessica Nicole Schafer, 2007-2016.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I WROTE LAST WEEK’S POST BEFORE READING THE FOLLOWING CHAPTER OF THE BOOK I’LL BE QUOTING. I, WHICH I’M SURE YOU HAVE, HAVE SEEN SO MUCH TRAGEDY IN LIFE. SOME OF WHICH PEOPLE HAVE BROUGHT ON THEMSELVES, AND SOME THAT HAVE JUST HAPPENED, REGARDLESS OF WHAT PEOPLE HAVE DONE. IT’S A HARD PILL TO SWALLOW. THE ONE THING WE CAN’T DO, AS I WROTE IN THE PREVIOUS POST, IS TURN OUR HEADS AND IGNORE REALITY. THOUGH IT’S EASIER, WE KNOW IN OUR HEART OF HEARTS THAT CHRIST DID NOT CALL US TO A LIFE OF “EASY”. AT OUR LADIES’ BIBLE STUDY, WE’VE BEEN READING THROUGH N.T. WRIGHT’S BOOK “FOLLOWING JESUS; BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS ON DISCIPLESHIP”. IT’S AN AMAZING READ. IT POINTS YOU TO BOOKS OF THE BIBLE SUCH AS COLOSSIANS, REVELATION, JOHN, AND SEVERAL OTHERS.

I ALMOST CRIED WHEN I READ THE FOLLOWING PARTS OF THIS BOOK. THEY ARE TAKEN FROM CHAPTER SIX TITLED “A WORLD REBORN; REVELATION”. WHAT HE WRITES ABOUT IS WHAT I’VE BEEN SEEING IN THE CHURCH OVER THE PAST FIFTEEN MONTHS. IT IS PERSONAL. I HAVE SEEN IT, LIVED MUCH OF IT, AND SEEN WHAT HE TALKS ABOUT SO MUCH IN THE CHURCH, AS A WHOLE.

“Easter is all about the wiping away of tears. In our fear of terror and joy, we have forgotten the purpose of tears. We have become embarrassed by them—and with good reason, since they are a God-given reminder of the truth which our culture, as much as any communist propaganda, has done its best to make us forget: that we are neither naked apes nor trainee angels, but humans, made in the image of God. Which God? The God who stood and wept at the tomb of his friend; the God who fell down and sobbed in the garden of Gethsemane. We have deemed tears to be childish, whereas in fact they are childlike; and Jesus told us to be childlike. We have allowed our proper dislike of emotionalism to deceive us into trying to ignore our emotions. But if Good Friday and Easter don’t stir our emotions, then the tyrant has indeed enslaved us. We have become like a garden paved over with stone slabs. Many people live like that; God help us, many of us even choose to, rather than face the terror and the joy of our own hearts, let alone of Calvary and Easter.” (page 58, Wright)

AND THAT LAST PART, “MANY US US EVEN CHOOSE TO…”, THAT IS WHAT I’VE SEEN RUN RAMPANT THROUGHOUT THE BODY OF CHRIST. YOU SEE, NO MATTER HOW HARD WE TRY TO TURN IT OFF, IT’S STILL THERE. THE WIDOW. THE ORPHAN. THE FRIENDLESS. THE LONELY. THE HUNGRY. AND EVEN THOSE WHO STAY IN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS, BECAUSE THEY’VE DECEIVED THEMSELVES INTO THINKING THEY HAVE NOBODY TO TURN TO. THE THING IS, AS BELIEVERS, WE CAN’T TURN A DEAF EAR TO REALITY. WITHOUT GETHSEMANE, THERE IS NO CALVARY….AND WITHOUT CALVARY, THERE IS NO GETHSEMANE. THERE IS ANOTHER SIDE OF GOD, THE TERRIBLE, AWESOME SIDE OF HIM THAT SO MANY OF US HAVE CHOSEN TO IGNORE. WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE DIED WHEN THEY SAW THE LORD? BECAUSE HE WAS A SWEET LIL’ MAN WHO SHOWED NO POWER? BECAUSE HE WAS ONLY MEEK AND HUMBLE, WITHOUT AN AMAZING, FEARFUL SIDE? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

“But with Easter we have hope; because hope depends on love; and love has become human and has died, and is now alive for evermore, and holds the keys of Death and Hades. It is because of him that we know—we don’t just hope, we know—that God will wipe away all tears from all eyes. And in that knowledge we find ourselves to be Sunday people, called to live in a world of Fridays. In that knowledge we know ourselves to be Easter people, called to minister to a world full of Calvarys. In that knowledge we find that the hand that dries our tears passes the cloth onto us, and bids us follow him, to go to dry one another’s tears. The lamb calls us to follow him wherever he goes; into the dark places of the world, the dark places of our own hearts, the places where tears blot out the sunlight, the places where tyrants pave the grass with concrete; and he bids us shine his morning light into the darkness, and share his ministry of wiping away the tears.” (pages 61-62, Wright)

READER, THIS IS WHAT OUR FAITH IS. CHRIST CALLS US TO JOIN HIM, NO MATTER WHETHER WE “FEEL” LIKE OPENING OUR EYES TO HIS TRUTHS, OR NOT. A WISE PROFESSOR OF MINE ONCE SAID, “DO WE REALLY MEAN IT WHEN WE SING, ‘OPEN THE EYES OF MY HEART, LORD, OPEN THE EYES OF MY HEART.’”…….WHAT IF HE DOES? WHAT IF HE OPENS OUR EYES TO OUR OWN REALITIES, TO THAT OF OUR NEIGHBOR’S, OUR TOWN’S, OUR COUNTRY’S, OUR WORLD’S….? WE HAVE A CHOICE. JOIN HIM, OR IGNORE HIM. AS MY SWEET HUSBAND PREACHED SEVERAL DAYS AGO, “FAITH IS NOTHING WITHOUT FAITHFULNESS, AND FAITHFULNESS IS NOTHING WITHOUT FAITH.” THERE IS A HUGE CANYON BETWEEN “KNOWING” AND “DOING”. I HOPE THAT AS THE BODY OF CHRIST, WE CAN TRULY BE EASTER PEOPLE MINISTERING TO A WORLD OF CALVARYS. LIVE LIKE YOU BELIEVE IT; EASTER IS COMING!!! IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE, EASTER IS ALWAYS COMING. LET US JOIN CHRIST IN WHAT HE HAS CALLED US TO DO.....NO MORE EXCUSES.

1 comment:

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

I feel your passion girlie!! Love it!