Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Randomness on the Church, the Cross, the Trinity...

I want to move forward.

I am tired of the consumer church of my youth. I am tired of clergy catering to what makes a congregation "feel" spiritual. I am coming to believe that oftentimes feeling spiritual has very little to do with actually being followers of Christ.

Gone are the warm fuzzies of my earlier faith. I want to be involved in a movement that binds the wounds of the brokenhearted - a movement that helps people not only get back on their feet but helps them learn to run in the grace of God.

I want to help lead a group of people who know they are broken. I want to humbly submit my own brokenness and allow God to use me as He sees fit and help others to do the same.

I don't want to fear the working of the Holy Spirit, but I have no desire to perpetuate a spiritual experience as the end goal.

I believe we are blessed to be a blessing. We are called to intentionality. By that I mean we are called to look for opportunities to extend grace and love - whether those opportunities arise in our neighboorhood, in our christian communities or in our own homes.

Jesus paid the ultimate price for each one of us. His death - his choice to go to hell and back for us - gives us the freedom to live fully. His resurrection gives us power over death - and not just bodily death, but also power over those things in life that lead to death. We have power through Jesus to partcipate in fixing the brokenness and easing the suffering caused by sin. His ascension to the right hand of the Father established God's Kingdom here on earth. If we desire to further his Kingdom, we have the privilege and responsibility to look for where He is working in the pain, suffering, and brokenness and jump in as agents of grace.

This decision to jump in means that we have to take on a Kingdom mindset. It is not appropriate for us to chase after the idols of our day. We are called to live with people who are deluded by worldly success, financial security, and the praise of men, BUT we are called to be separate in our identity. There is a better, truer way.

Each & every one of us are in need. We all have empty spaces. I dream of a community where we come to focus on Jesus and allow Him to transform our hearts. We then go from that gathering, pick up the cross of Christ and become witnesses to the amazing difference his love and grace and truth have made.

I love the view of the trinity as a beautiful dance. Father, Son, & Holy Spirit - all one and yet all distinct in their roles. I want to dance with friends among the trinity. I want to be so safe in my commuity that I am free to be me and free to let others be who they are.

In the trinity there is no jockeying for position. They live and move and work as one. The goal is set and they dance in unity to move toward the goal.

We have been blessed by the ultimate model of community. God creates, Jesus saves, the Holy Spirit guides. How fortunate we are to interact with them all.

People ask me what goals I have for a community of faith. I do see things like lives being put back in order, hungry people fed, lonely people befriended, naked people clothed. I also see captives freed. I want to live the true life in such a way that the fragrance of Christ overwhelms.

I don't want to bait and switch. I don't want to minimize the cost of Christ to "get people in." I want to pick up my cross daily - knowing that this life of emptying myself is the only way to live fully. And as the Holy Spirit brings people along, I want to be used as a tool to help navigate faith.

It is a costly life, for sure. It often means going against what I want, what my needs are, and becoming a vessel to be used. But I see no other way. I have lived much of my life living only for me. And that life brings heartache, endless struggle, and depression in a downward spiral.

So counter-intuitive, but so meaningful is my life when I am laying it down for others. I have found no greater joy or fulfillment than giving of my time and resources to someone who is in need.

How do we foster that type of community? I'm not entirely sure. I think it begins with realizing the amazing gift of life we've been given in Christ. I think it also begins with laying down our individual comforts and agendas and collectively picking up Christ's agenda. It begins also with submitting our will to God's will and the the will of the community led by Him.

I don't expect it to be a perfect process. I see the selfish parts in me that die hard. But I believe there is enough at stake to be willing to try. God has certainly put his faith in us. He is counting on us to step up to the challenge with humility and love. If He - who created us and knows us better than anyone - believes in us, then who are we to question?

I would love to hear your thoughts? Do you believe consumerism is wrecking things? How do you think we can become all Christ created us to be? How do you picture the trinity?


Ben said...

Thank you Vic for such a passionate post, it inspires me to continue the journey.

Erica said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing this, Vic. It is encouraging to me to see someone else who has questions - very similar to what I have in my head! LOL (I didn't scare you with that, did I? LOL)

vic said...

Thanks, Ben. Through it all, God is very cool.

Erica, you don't scare me:) I would love to hear some of the specifics of your thoughts sometime.

Birdie said...

I never pictured the Trinity as a dance. But I like that analogy. Also that they are the perfect example of community. I love this thought. My very favorite scripture that I have adopted as my life verse is Isaiah 61:1-3. I think if we all look hard enough this anointing is on all of us. Jesus said that this scripture was fulfilled when he came to earth and then he said we are to follow him. Sounds like a great verse to encourage us. Thanks, Vic.

vic said...

Isaiah 61

The Year of the LORD's Favor

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

Thanks, Birdie. That's awesome. I love the last line, "they will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." It all comes back to glorifying God.

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