There’s something that has been heavy on my heart lately. I think the best word for what I’m feeling is conviction. In other words, I’ve got this sneaky feeling that God is trying to help me see that there’s something we (or at least something that I) need to do differently.
We are singing a new song this week in worship. You can hear it by clicking here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieOL4X3nk2c
I love this song for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that it paints a beautiful picture of a theme that rings clear throughout the long history of the Bible: that our gospel is good news for the poor! Over and over again, the Bible demonstrates a God who cares deeply about the ones who are pushed aside by the world. The great big story of God is a story of drawing in the one who wanders, the one who hurts, the one who grieves, the one who suffers. In the very words and actions of Jesus, this theme comes up repeatedly: The minority, the foreigner, the sick, the poor – Our gospel is good news for them. Because those that the world excludes are wholly included in the Kingdom of God.
As the election season rhetoric ratchets up, it seems more and more important that those of us who follow Christ refuse to turn our backs on this deep truth: God loves the outcast and the marginalized. And if his love dwells in our hearts, so too must we. Jesus sits down to dinner with those who were socially unacceptable, and he shares a glass of water with the mistrusted foreigner. If we are his “followers,” we have to follow him in that way too. Jesus invites into his small group poor people, uneducated people, and scoundrels. Instead of building walls, Jesus bridges social divides. And Jesus demonstrates love for people that looked to be pretty unloveable to the world. So to must we.
Listen – this is in no way a statement about who you should or shouldn’t vote for. This is a statement about how we should LIVE as followers of Christ. I think that the conviction I am feeling in my heart is a conviction about how much we, as a church, are all so alike. I worry that we have settled for life with the people who are most like us. If that becomes our norm, it’s gonna be pretty hard for us to live out a gospel that is “good news for the poor.” (that’s a Jesus quote, by the way.)
I guess what I’m really saying is that I think Jesus might be calling us out of our comfort zones – to share life with people that our popular culture might tell us to simply ignore. (I have this sneaky feeling that the more we do that, the more we will discover that we need them in our lives way every bit as much as they need us…)
Here’s the thing – I don’t know what it will look like for each of us to live out the love of Jesus in more radical and Christlike ways. I think each of us has to answer that for ourselves. So let me just invite you to take some time to think about the way Jesus lived. And then to compare it with the way you live. And maybe to just ask God to give you some ideas…
But I think I can say that for almost all of us, we probably need to be intentional about making room for and building relationships with people who are quite different from us. In many ways. Because that’s what the Kingdom of Heaven is like…
Thanks in advance for thinking about it. I would love to hear from you about what you come up with!