I love reading and researching, probably to a fault, and my kindle is definitely one of my 3 most treasured possessions (my emerald green mapel shelled drumkit and my macbook pro are the other 2). The problem is that reading and researching aren’t bad things, in fact they have been so helpful in removing different ideas, attitudes and beliefs that have held me back, or stunted my growth.
However what Jesus does is so different, so radical. Not because he says we shouldn’t have good theology, or that we shouldn’t think critically. Rather it is because Jesus invites us to enter our said beliefs and to work them out by first living them from our hearts. I used to believe that we are changed or transformed by our beliefs and that’s why one should believe the right thing. Now I realise the reason why I saw so little change is that those beliefs were powerless due to the fact that they were said beliefs, ideas that I was giving mental assent to, nothing more.
I had one of those aha moments when I realised that Jesus not only taught people a different way of relating to God, through his miracles he showed them a different way of relating to God.. However the clincher for me was that he became the different way of relating to God through who he was or to put it another way, Jesus becomes the site where people can relate to God in a new revolutionary way.
So what changes us then if it is not right beliefs? I believe the answer is love. Jesus is inviting us to a relationship where the Father loves us like he loves Jesus. For too long we have tried to approach God with our heads, Jesus opens the way to approach the Father with our hearts, with the guarantee that it is safe.
It is in the safety of this love relationship that we are transformed first at a heart level and then our hearts inform our heads as we grapple with how to live from this new place, the place of new creation. New creation is not saying that Jesus has taken my sins away and made me new again. Rather it is that he, through his death on the cross and then his resurrection, opened up the place of new creation for us to live from.
Many christians live for heaven, that place far removed from earth and from time, where all our problems cease. This is just escapism. Other christians try to live from heaven, bring heaven to earth. The problem with this approach, which is very popular amongst in the circles where healing and worship is emphasised, is that they still operate as if heaven is far removed and so much time is spent desperately trying to get heaven to come close enough to earth for something to happen.
Jesus invites us to go beyond this to the new creation. A new tangible reality which has it’s feet firmly planted in the soil of the earth. Yes we can’t experience the fullness of new creation until all things have been made new. However this is the point of Jesus physical resurrection. He is inviting us not to escape earth to some spiritual disembodied realm, he is inviting us to dance the beautiful dance of the Trinitarian community in the dirt of the earth as we know it.
The crucifixion allowed Jesus to expose evil and sin for what it is, it was his greatest victory. However not satisfied to leave it there, after such a great victory, Jesus displays great love to return through his resurrection to the brokeness of earth and open up that victory and love for all who would recieve him.
Jesus is inviting us to not just believe in his crucifixion and his resurrection as merely historical events. He is inviting us into a place where we are loved and safe and from that place he is asking us to participate in his crucifixion and resurrection. What does it look like for your life and my life to become the site at which others experience Jesus crucifixion and resurrection?
As always I would greatly value your thoughts and comments.