Starting a new Summer Series from Laura Degroot’s book: Live Wide Awake
Live Wide Awake: Known and Loved
As followers of Jesus we look too God for the things that ail us. I firmly believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only true answer to what we face today. Human good intentions are temporary and human driven solutions always fall short of God’s desire for our created race. Over time, without the Gospel of Jesus at its core, we become wayward. The solution begins and ends with God. God, ‘let your justice roll down like a mighty water, let righteousness flow like a never ending stream, let mercy resound like the waves of the ocean, and let praises rise high on the songs of the redeemed.”
Grief and sorrow. How quickly the move can be made from COVID-19 tragedy, shut down and difficulty reopening to an episode of nationally witnessed police brutality and the explosion of looting and violence. What is the cure? I’ll say again what I believe, the cure is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The message of last week was a timely word, “Love your neighbor who is like yourself.” The only way to tap into that well of action is to know and love God – to know his love and power that comes to our lives when we tap into his love.
One thing of the past two weeks that comes through clearly to me is that division is a primary tool of the Devil. However, that is not the complete story. It is human beings, you and me, who pick up this tool of the Devil and run with it. The human race has a systemic problem and it’s called depravity. In our anger, frustration, grief and sorrow, we continue to perpetuate division by seeing, defining, labeling people into groups of other than, less than, to justify hatred or to bolster our own self-righteousness… “All white people…” “All African Americans…” “All police officers…” “All republicans…” “All democrats…” and on and on it goes. As good as it feels to group and label, and attach disparaging qualities to a ‘whole’ – it is not of God. I find this kind of impulse never true about a ‘whole’ group of people. Unless you want to say that ‘we are all sinners.’ That rings true to me. Self-righteousness is also a primary tool of the Devil. And again, as with the tool of division, so it is with self-righteousness – we, in our own depravity pick up this tool and engage it for sin.
The desire to oppress and control, the desire to strike out in revenge comes from the poison of disobedience long ago. We have a choice to pick this up and run with it or to lay in down before the feet of Jesus. Division, racism and their ilk require constant ongoing vigilance – for it is at the heart of our shared human depravity. We are called to once again grapple with the creed that ‘all people are created equal’ and live it out. Once again we take in the message of Jesus to ‘love your neighbor who is like yourself’ and live it out. And further, live out the necessary path of reconciliation by ‘loving our enemy’ for in this, we will be like our Heavenly Father… a son or daughter of God.
So what is the answer to the divisiveness within the soul of humanity and the things which once again ail us? The power of the Gospel – that flows in word and deed from a heart transformed by the love of God. To seek justice for all, to walk in humility, in a posture of love and seeking to understand. All people are created in the image of Almighty God – that’s not dependent on the color of skin nor on anything that humanity claims as ‘one’s net worth.’ When unjust brutality is perpetrated on anyone, justice must be pursued and rendered. When looting and beatings occur in our cities and neighborhoods, just order should be maintained and enforced. We all stand under the double edged sword of justice, regardless of the color of one’s skin, and justice should be administered impartially. When these things do not occur justly, we cry out. In this time, we must seek peace, but not pacification. We must be in prayer. We must seek God’s face. We must repent of the sin we continue to perpetuate of division and labeling of others that leads too self-justification of our own sin. We are called as a country made up of many nationalities, ethnicities, and races to build a common life of shared dignity and friendship with all persons regardless of the color of one’s skin… to ‘promote liberty and justice for all’ at every level of society for every citizen. Not because it’s some pledge of allegiance, rather, because it’s God’s design, built into the fabric of God’s created plan for his ‘image of God’ created humanity. Lord Have Mercy.
This Sunday, we begin our summer series journey touching on themes and practices from the book by Laura DeGroot entitled, Live Wide Awake with the theme of Known and Love ed. In prep for Sunday’s message, read Psalm 139 in the Bible, or from The Message by Eugene Peterson. Looking forward to meeting you, even though in a virtual way. Where two or three are gathered, God is present. I think God has that covered virtually everyday!