Day 15: Safe to Shore Part 2
Updated: Feb 24, 2021
"When we arrive sons and daughters
We'll make our homes on the water
We'll we build our walls of aluminum
We'll fill our mouths with cinnamon now."--The Decemberists
Earlier this week we saw how Jesus enters into the violence and suffering of our "lost at sea" lives and offers us peace and rest. Today I want to explore how peace and rest are given to us not for our own good but for the restoration of the world. The captain has given us a task, to bring peace to a violent world that is full of suffering.
The Decemberists paint a close enough picture of utopia for me to say deep in my heart, "Yes! Let's go! Let's get out of here!" But then I'm reminded that what Jesus is offering isn't a way out of the suffering and violence of this world. We aren't following the captain to some distant shore where there will be no evil. We follow him to the transformation of THIS world so that this world will become a place of wholeness and peace. In the book of Revelation we see a picture of the captain bringing heaven to earth transforming it so that "Now the dwelling place of God is with mankind."
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”--Revelation 21:1–4
Jesus didn't save us to take us out of this world. He saved us so that his dwelling place would be THIS world. We don't go up to heaven. Heaven comes down to us. Mankind's dwelling place isn't with God. God's dwelling place is with mankind. The universe wasn't created for us to flee it, but to be a part of its redemption and restoration.
Christians acknowledge that we live in the tension of knowing the Prince of Peace while living in and too often participating with a violent world full of sin and suffering. We work this tension out by gathering on a regular basis to share the communion of God's grace and then by scattering to our various spheres of influence. The gathering of his disciples in their holy huddle is meaningless without the scattering of his disciples to the corners of this world that need redemption.
So when we gather the world should be witnessing a people who are leaving our world to find safe harbor, peaceful shores because Jesus is the Prince of Peace. But every time you leave that gathering and scatter to your various homes and vocations, what the world should be witnessing (in a remarkably unassuming way--kind of like a baby born in a manger) is the glory of God descending on the neighborhoods, work places and homes of your life. Now, the dwelling place of God is with the grocery story, the office complex, the yoga studio, the coffee shop, the forest, the beach, the internet, the bedroom, living room and kitchen…Grace, everywhere you go.
How? Why? Because, in some mysterious way you have had an experience with the Divine. You have seen the face of God in the face of Jesus the Messiah. You have experienced grace upon grace so you just have to serve it up to everyone you meet...in every good thing you do for others...everywhere you go.
So let's go change the world. Let's turn the swords into plowshares. Let's deconstruct the bombs and turn them into houses. Let's turn the poison into cinnamon. Let's be people so filled with the Holy Spirit that we too can say to the tempest of this violent world, "Peace, be still!" and the world will say, "Who are these people that even the violence and suffering obey their voice?"
I confess that I participate far too often in the violence and suffering of this world or I am overwhelmed by the power of these fightings and fears both within and without. Forgive me. Give me grace to follow a victorious captain who has conquered these things and invites me to participate in the renewal of THIS world. Let your kingdom come and your will be done on EARTH as it is in your dwelling place…and come quickly Lord Jesus. Amen.
(I hope the refrain gets stuck in your head all day because it reflects the hope that shalom is our future that has enter our now.)