Posts Tagged ‘grace’

Grace & Peace

Posted: August 15, 2012 in Chapter-a-day
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Sometimes somethings are so familiar that they are completely foreign to us in reality.  We’ve become so accustomed to seeing them that we neglect them, passing over them for so long that we actually forget them by our familiarity.

 

Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father…

 

I’m reading a letter written by a self-righteous, hyper-religious, finger-pointing, sin-hating, God-fearing, sitting-in-the-front-pew, singing-the-very-loudest fella that ever did everything right, ever.

 

Except he’s different now.  He went from witch-hunter to public defender in no time flat.  Well, actually that’s not true.  Did you know that following Paul’s “sudden” conversion on the road to Damascus (which by Paul’s telling later in Acts, was actually just the highpoint in Jesus’ long work to Paul’s conversion), Paul spent fourteen years doing nobody-knows-what in Arabia?  I kinda think Paul and Jesus were having a serious de-programming time.  14 years of de-programming, and reformatting.

 

And now, having stood by and approve the vicious and humiliating murder of at least one man, Paul is the advocate of “Grace” and “peace”.

 

 

In every letter we have from Paul to individuals, or to communities, he begins the letters with these words- “Grace to you!  and peace from God our Father.”

 

GRACE!

 

What does that mean?  The predominant usage of the word now refers to beauty.  Athletic discipline, motion of the body that is so smooth it looks natural, while in fact is almost impossible to just do.  Gymnasts, dancers-

 

But when Paul says “grace” that is not at all on his mind.  It is charity.  It is a charity so rich, and so exquisite and complete that it would be towering in it’s size, overwhelming in it’s fullness, completely engulfing.

 

And it doesn’t matter what kind of letter he was writing, whether to encourage, to educate or to rebuke!  Everytime, “Grace to you, and PEACE!”

 

What an awesome gift it would be to be able to communicate with the people in my life like that: what if my every communication with people gave them a sense that they rested within the greatest charity of my spirit that I had?  Rather than reacting to something defensively, or scornfully, or fearfully- rather than wondering what I really meant, or if I was being sincere with my words- they just knew that they could rest in the certainty of my charity?

 

Wow.  I want that.  I want to communicate that, not just with words but with my whole speech.

 

God, grant to your Church the candor and wisdom of Paul- but also the knowledge of your full GRACE!  and PEACE!

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Genesis 50 

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

 19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

24 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

Death.  Fear.  Insecurity.  Sorrow.  Conspiracy.  Deception.  Paranoia.  The abuse of power.

Sympathy.  Compassion.  Humility.  Graciousness.  Generosity.  Trust.  Reliance.

The Kingdom of this world, contrasted starkly with the Kingdom of God.

Joseph’s brothers have been dependent on their shared connection with Joseph to Jacob for security from Joseph’s wrath.  The atrocities of their youth have followed them for decades now, and they have not accepted the forgiveness that Joseph gave them before, when they came to him as a governor.  They have refused to let go, they have refused to lay back into the mercy God gave to Joseph.  They are captured in the hell of their choosing.  Why?  Because they haven’t understood God.

Joseph has experienced comfort and strength in God.  He has trusted in God, and God has shown Joseph his calling in Egypt.  Joseph has known peace and purpose in being able to literally save a generation of people with the wisdom of God.  Joseph tells his brothers, now, as before when they were reconciled; “What you intended for harm God has made for good!  I have saved many lives!”  For Joseph, the Kingdom of Heaven is very near.  He is living harmoniously with his neighbors, and communing with God, fulfilling his calling dutifully and without prejudice.

But the brothers expect vengeance.  The brothers expect a return on their cruelty.  Even now, after decades of Joseph’s generosity, they can imagine only pretense and falsehood.  Now they are genuinely afraid.  They are self-interested and self-absorbed.  Conspiracy and deception are the places they toss and turn at night, imagining the depth of Joseph’s hatred, building the prison cells and torture chambers that Joseph has secreted away, waiting for the day.

Because they have not understood God.

Have we accepted God?  Or do we hide in the dark corners, afraid of the Judge, imagining the litany of sins that He might read to us?  Do we fear his wrath?

I may deserve His wrath, just as Joseph’s brother’s surely did not deserve anything but Joseph’s wrath for hating him, for plotting against him, threatening him with death, and selling him off to foreign traders.

But Joseph saw past the sins.  Joseph chose to be gracious.  And that is something he learned from God.  We don’t see where, we don’t see how.  But God has surely shown Joseph the same thing He has been lobbying you and me with- the desire to show mercy.

I wonder if Joseph saw through it all that time.  If he knew that his brother’s still did not trust him.  I wonder if he gave the lavish meals, the good pastures for their flocks, gave them all of the good things that Egypt and Pharaoh offered them, and all along, saw the distrust in their eyes.

But he kept giving it to them.  He never stopped giving it to them.

And then he blessed them.

There’s an interesting contrast, when Joseph says in verse 21, “Don’t be afraid, I will provide for you, and your children.”  And then a few verses later, he says “I am about to die- but God will surely come to your aid…”

Joseph has done everything he can to show the depth of his forgiveness to his brothers.  But even Joseph will die.  But do not be afraid, because though I die, God does not- He will surely come to your aid.

Where does Joseph get this generosity?  This courage?  The depth of faith to lie on his deathbed and rely on God?

He has experienced it himself.  He has seen God’s promises, known God’s love, felt the arms of God’s compassion.

God has shown Joseph love that doesn’t stop loving, gifts that are sourced in the desire to give and the generosity of the Giver, not the merit of earner, and grace that is ruled by grace, not ruled by a fickle temper.

Joseph is a mirror for God.  Cast aside, sold off as rubbish.  Yet rising up to give good things, speak into the darkness of chaos and misunderstanding.  Humbly serving behind the curtain of Pharaoh, and not seeking power, but seeking to serve.  And spending endlessly to convince the darkness that light is present and ready.  Even if the darkness does not see it.  Even if the darkness doesn’t believe.

Joseph is not forgiving his brothers so that they will believe and be forgiven.  He is forgiving his brothers because God has shown him that it is the best way.  It is His own way.

God forgives because it pleases him to forgive.  It makes Him a better God.  And he will continue to offer it to us, even as we turn, even as we refuse, even as we accept it be it uncertain or distrustful.  While it is for us, it serves Him too.

Genesis.  The beginning, but also part of the middle.  And a blurry view of the end.  Not too bad.

Genesis 28:

4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.”

13 There above it[c] stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.[d] 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

 16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

 18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel,[e] though the city used to be called Luz.

 

 

The bible is an interesting tool in the right hands.  It’s an even more interesting one in the wrong hands.  It’s striking to me how we debate about literal translations, or metaphorical/allegorical translations, and what’s right and what’s wrong, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

 

Because the first thing the bible is, absolutely and concretely, is a historical account.  It is a written record of events that happened somewhere to somebody or because of somebody.  So I like to start there when I’m reading.

 

Here, in chapter 28, Isaac has accepted that he was duped into blessing Jacob, and affirms that blessing by directing him to marry from his own people in Harran, where Abraham began his journey when his father died.  So Jacob leaves, carrying the legacy of his father Isaac, given to him by God and also his own father, Abraham, a blessing of prosperity, and as we’ve come to speak of it, that Jacob would have a “full quiver.”

 

Jacob stops along his journey, finding a suitable place to spend the night.  He sleeps, but has a dream, a vision, where God ordains Jacob as the next to carry the legacy of His promise to Abraham, and to Noah before him, the legacy of a family like the sands of all the shores, or all the stars in the sky.  And that in that family lineage would be a blessing for all the peoples of the earth, a veiled reminder that He’s still working out his first promise to Eve, the promise of reparations for the damage of the serpent’s lie.

 

Jacob awakes, and amazed that God would appear in this desolate, bland, unremarkable place, says “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”  Honoring this newly revealed treasure, he renames the place, calling it “Bethel.”  The text notes that it already had a name though, “Luz.”

But apart from the strictly historical aspect, , here I find an interesting “type,” or an image of something more conceptual.  It may not be the primary function for this passage of scripture being in the historical record for us all to see, but nevertheless, it bubbles up to the surface when I read this.

God is already everywhere we go.

See?  Deep, huh?  No, but seriously, how many times have you felt like you were trying to bring God into somebody’s life?  Like, opening the door to somebody’s heart and trying to help God squeeze in like a camera crew for the TV show “Hoarders”  trying to worm their way into a crowded hallway, around a door that can’t open all the way.

Dude-  God’s already in there.

Maybe you have a husband or a wife who is closed off from your faith, and you want so much to share it with them.  But you can’t find an entry point.

God is already in there.

Whenever that person experiences you loving them, God is there.  Whenever that person experiences you engaging with their problems, and hurting from their hurts, God is interacting with them.

I see a model of that in this story of Jacob’s.  He lays his head down in an unfamiliar place, and God reveals himself.  Jacob awakens, and realizes that though the place is unfamiliar, unremarkable, and otherwise appears desolate, God is already here.  So he claims it with an altar, and renames it.  It’s never going to just be some spot on a map.  It’s never going to be called desolate again.  Now it’s Bethel, the Lord’s house.

Where are you?  Has God shown himself to you yet?  Or are you possibly trying to bring God someplace that He’s been already forever?  Look around.  Where is love being shown or given?  Where is service being done?  Where are people investing into each other with genuine concern and selflessness?  God is already there.  Call him out, remove the veil, and name Him.

This is another block in the bridge called mercy.  Another paver on the road “grace.”  He is already there providing for your needs before you recognize Him.  He isn’t waiting for you to call on Him to shower down His gifts on you.  They are laying around you on the ground, waiting for you when you get there.  You are wearing them.  Sleeping in them.  Loving them in your life already.

The rock upon which Jacob laid his head that night, the rock that became the altar marking this unremarkable place called the Lord’s house, was already there.  Jacob didn’t pack it with him.  All he did was lay his head on it, and God opened up the realm, peeled back the veil and showed himself.

Just go on your journey, and keep your eyes open, and if you are tired, or think you are alone, just lay down.

Genesis 26

1 Now there was a famine in the land—besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar. 2 The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring[a] all nations on earth will be blessed,[b] 5 because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” 6 So Isaac stayed in Gerar.

7… he said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.”

10 Then Abimelek said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”

12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him.

27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”
28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the LORD was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the LORD.”
 30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank.

My habit has been to observe and study more the lives of the people in Scripture.  Probably nothing really weird about that; I’m a person, and they’re people.  Plenty to relate to.  But I have been convicted that I need to gain more in the way of knowing who God is.  That the bible, for as much as it reveals about who we are, is far more valuable for what it reveals about who God is.  And I’ll be frank- I have been surprised at how pleasing and satisfying it has been for me to really examine and discover how remarkable God’s character is!  It shouldn’t- people have told me.  But now I’m seeing for myself how stunning and kind He is.

Three traits in particular have really stood out to me: He is indeed Holy; He demands justice. He demands payment for sin, and cannot abide with it.  But a flipside of that same demand for justice is that He is himself totally just.  So if He makes a promise, He is absolutely trustworthy to keep that promise.  He is determined to see it done.

He is a LIFE lover; though our communion, our LIFE, together, has been broken and disrupted, His affection for our LIFE together drives Him to repair and restore that communion.  Not enough to overthrow His need for justice and truthfulness.  But it is enough that he chooses MERCY.  He chooses to pay for the penalty at his own great cost, and then gives us the benefit of that payment.

That mercy is manifested in the third major cord.  His love for LIFE and COMMUNION is played out time and time again in the face of corruptible human partners who refuse, blunder, and disobey Him directly and constantly.  But He always subverts our subversion by being a servant-type.  Steadily, Holy God reveals his compulsion to show mercy and love LIFE by serving rather than demanding.  By paying rather than charging.

And that story repeats itself in every single generation.

In Genesis 26, Isaac, son of Abraham is at a cross roads.  There is great famine in the promised land.  The land God promised Abraham is dried and cracked.  People are leaving, looking for relief.  Isaac wanders into the land of the Philistines, perhaps on his way to Egypt when God says to him, “Do not go into Egypt; but stay where I instruct you.  Stay awhile and I will be with you and will bless you.”

Why?  Because he promised Abraham that in this place, the family tree of Abraham would become a family forest-wilderness of trees.  God’s promises are good.  No statute of limitations on that.  No expiration date.  Totally transferable.  Beyond-lifetime guarantee.

But Isaac becomes afraid.  He becomes worried.  He is insecure.  He has the same fears his father did before him, that the beauty of his wife would bring his own life into jeopardy.  So he plays the same card that his father did, and lies.  “She is my sister,” he would say.

But he gets caught.  Just like his dad.  Some lessons don’t come easy, I guess.

Isaac lied for the same reason Abraham did- he did not think God’s power was present where he was.  He probably believed in a geographical-God- a God who was strong at home, but not beyond the walls and doors of that home.  We do that too!  I do that too!  I have all the faith in the world when I’m with my small group, at my church, at that convention.  But where does that faith go when I am driving on the interstate, or shopping at a store in a seedy looking neighborhood?  Where is that faith when I am walking the sidewalks downtown?  Am I confident in God then?  Or do I adjust the rake of my hat a little, to look a little tougher?  Do I make criticisms that aren’t really merciful, so that I can appear witty or sophisticated?  Do I maybe make decisions because I know there are eyes watching me?  Eyes other than God’s?

But what happens?  Does God rebuke Isaac for falling into the same trap his father did?  For his faithlessness?

It says that Isaac planted crops, and reaped 100 times what he planted.  Why?  Because God blessed him.

Why?  Well, I think it’s safe to say that God doesn’t always bless a person because they merited it by good behavior.  Well, that leaves one other possibility: God blessed Isaac because it suited God’s ambitions to do so.  More succinctly, it pleased God to bless Isaac.  Or another way: God was pleased to bless Isaac for God’s own purposes and pleasure.

Later on we begin to see a reason for this: people once hostile to Isaac come to him and say “We saw clearly that the Lord was with you;”

Who is glorified by that?  Isaac?  He certainly gains from it, but I have to say that No, God is glorified by that.

God is glorified when people see Him blessing us.  God gives to us because then other people can see the riches of God in our life.  Apart from our merit, apart from our good decisions or bad decisions.  God blessed Isaac and people saw it.  They didn’t say, “that Isaac guy is a heck of a farmer,” or “that Isaac, boy, he really knows what he’s doing, doesn’t he?”  Nope, they said, “We saw clearly that the Lord was with you;”

Do what you can to hear and obey.  But thank God for His mercy!  And allow His blessing on your life to be visible to others!  Make every good thing that you have be a gift rather than something earned.

The struggle for me is to accept it.  I want to earn it.  I want to deserve God’s favor.  And I think that’s a good thing.  I think that desire is placed in my heart by God, by His mercy, to drive me to live in the Kingdom of Heaven, in the fullness of the LIFE He made it to be.  The trouble comes though when in my desire to earn his favor, I lose sight of his grace.  You don’t want to do that.  You don’t want to turn God away and say, “no, no.”

The grace that causes that desire to deserve God’s favor is good- it impels me to pull God’s kingdom into my present.  That’s a gift to me because God’s kingdom is what I’m designed for.  And you too.  But when I have to earn it, I lose it.  I can’t earn it.  I must accept it.  And that’s alright with Him.  That’s the only way it works.  Isaac didn’t reap 100 times what he sowed because he knew something the others didn’t.  It was because God desired to be seen through Him.  I’d like to try that.  I’d like to be a prism for God’s light to shine through.  For the beam to refract, and spread, and shine.

Genesis 21 

1 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised.

8 The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down nearby, about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there nearby, she[c] began to sob.

17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

There’s a common misconception about God’s people.  This misconception is actually so prolific that you’ll find it both outside the church-culture and within the church-culture.  I might even suggest that the misconception is the cornerstone of the wall dividing the church culture and the non-church culture.  And I think that here, in this selection of excerpts from Genesis 21 the misconception is seen in action, AND it’s shown as false, all at the same time.

So what is it?

Sarah, protective of her baby and his legacy, is threatened, again, by the presence of Hagar the Egyptian and her son, Ishmael.  Her pride is pricked by the boy’s taunting.  So she tells Abraham, to “get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with MY son, Isaac.”

Woah.  Easy, girl.  Sarah has bought into the misconception; one that I have been guilty of believing too.

The lie?  The lie is that there’s some kind of qualitative difference between “us” and “them.”  And by the way that goes either way; “US” can be “us church-people” and “them” can be “them church-people.”

Fact is that we’re all just people.

Abraham, assured by God that Ishmael does not lose connection with God by being sent out, sends Hagar and Ishmael away, as Sarah has demanded.

God claims Ishmael and Hagar in the desert, when their resources have run dry and Hagar has all but given up.  She has no more hope, no more energy, and nothing left to use.  So she sets the boy down and wanders off, not feeling up to watching Ishmael die in the sun.

And for the second time in Hagar’s life, God comes to her in the desert, when she’s out of food, out of water, and out of places to go.  He says to her, “Do not be afraid,” because He has heard the crying boy.

“Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

Last time God visited Hagar in the desert, she named Him “the God who Sees Me.”  This time, God names himself, saying “I have heard the boy crying.”

Then it says that God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.

“God was with the boy as he grew up.”

I think that sometimes the greatest obstacle to seeing the expansion of God’s kingdom in our lives and in our individual worlds, is the walls we build between “us” and “them.”  It’s a false divider that we set up, that I have set up in my weakness.  I have set up those dividers to keep myself clean, to keep myself above.  Sometimes, I’ve done it with the intent of maintaining my innocence and purity.  But the truth is, it never works.  I have never kept my innocence nor my purity.  I am a sinner.  I am captured in the orbits of a broken world.  It does not own me, nor will it have me.  But I am not outside of the stink of it’s breath.  Not yet.

So I must depend of Jesus.  I must repent daily of my missteps, and my misdeeds.  My selfishness and insubordination.  I must daily remind myself that I have been bought- and not just rented.

God does not love me and hate “them.”  God does not favor “me” and despise “them.”  I am not “better” and they are not “worse.”  There is no “slave woman,”  and actual wife.  That is a simple, and naive label that is used to distance Hagar from Sarah.  And it doesn’t work, really.  God blesses Hagar and Ishmael, that “slave woman AND her son.”

This God, this LIFE loving, LIFE repairing God cares not for “us” and “them.”  He causes the sun to shine on all, righteous and wicked.  It stands to be said that unless your name is “Jesus” and you’re resurrected from death to life, you’ve still got a touch of wicked in you somewhere.  Just to be clear.  He causes the sun to shine on Jesus and us.  On Isaac AND Ishmael.

Why?  Because he is a LIFE loving, LIFE repairing God.  He is not vengeful against what He is made, but rather He is on a mission to make it back to the way it was, or better.

God tells Abraham, “Do not be so distressed… I will make the son of the maidservant [(note that God does NOT call her the “slave woman)] into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”  God keeps promises.  He promised Abraham, as He promised Eve.

Do not be so distressed.  God will do what God will do.  And it always goes back to a promise He has made.  And the very first promise was a promise to restore communion.   No more labels.  No more “us” and “them.”  No more divisions or dividers.  We all fall on Christ.  His righteousness.  All of us.  Even us.  Even them.

Persuasion

Posted: September 7, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

We live in a society of persuasion.  Right now, there are a number of people trying to persuade me to elect them to the office of President.  Watch the TV for eight or nine minutes and I’ll likely find 5 or 6 ads trying to persuade me that my quality of life will improve if I buy their product.  The list goes on and on.  Seriously.  I won’t bore you with a more exhaustive list of the plethora of arguments and attempts for our attention, our time, our money, our lives.

I’m guilty of that too.  I love the challenge.  We’ve been raised in a theatre of debate: if you want something, you have to demonstrate the need for it.   We must build the case.  Or defend it.

One most troubling things to ever crease the forehead of the world was spoken by Jesus when He said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; nobody can come to the Father except by me.”  What a fuss that’s made.

I think that my life- at least as I reckon it, has been spent obsessing over a very small portion of that statement:  the Truth.

I like debate.  I like argument.  I like to explore and spar.  I don’t mean to antagonize people.  I really just want to give away something that I have and love.  Problem is, other people don’t see it that way.  And I can appreciate that.  I’d feel the same way.

I need to change.  To repent.  It’ll be difficult and I probably won’t make it.  I hope that you can forgive me as we go.  Because I’ve been convicted that there’s a better way.  The Way, and the Life.  It seems to me- that is, I myself have been persuaded that if I simply live the Way, and the Life, if I manifest Truth in my flesh, I will have no need to persuade anybody of anything.

Rather than argue, even in a kind and friendly tone, I can just live.  What might happen if I just invite people to live the way Jesus did?  I mean, obviously, I’d have to start doing that too.  But if I just live a life of dependence on God- of healing the wounds that have bloodied the life of my city, of living grace and mercy, of living Jesus’ way, what’s left to demonstrate?  Where is the need for persuasion?

If Jesus is the Way, something in the act of living must bring us closer to God.  If Jesus’ is the Truth, it must be the truest, best way to live- the way that most corresponds with the reality God created.  And that- THAT would be the life!

So here’s my confession.  I talk too much.  I think a lot, and debate a lot, and ultimately, it’s just arguing.  Which really is a defense, not an offense.  So- I’m going to focus a little more on the offense.  I’m going to focus on the way, and less on the truth.  I don’t believe you can really separate them- if I live the way, the truth is manifest.  I mean, “truth” is more than a simple “known” object anyways.  It’s not an “it” as much as it is a “who.”

If I am living the life- all I need to do is invite people to live the same kind of life I am living.  A life defined by mercy, submission, service, loving and genuine community with my neighbors is a life rendered to God.  Defined by my actions, not by my words.  If I am joined in this life, those who join me will see for themselves how good, and right, and true Jesus is.  And there will be nothing left for me to say.  Except “welcome.”