The Jacob’s Well Minneapolis community has been talking about the ‘healthy real & ideal’ in order to keep the ‘unhealthy’ versions of them at bay. We talked about Real & Ideal Work yesterday (4/13/2014). Here are a few thoughts from it. It starts with a parable that was written by someone from our community especially for this day.
The kingdom of heaven is like a woman who looks in the mirror in the morning, touches up her hair, smiles and says, “Today I will make the world a better place” as she heads off to work. She does that every day.
Yesterday was Palm Sunday as the regular church calendar goes. That was the day Jesus entered Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, it was going to be the last week of his life. It was the week when he observed the Passover Meal with his disciples, was arrested that night, hung on a cross to die the next day, and then Sunday, Easter, is the day we celebrate his resurrection.
You know how I see what was going on with Jesus in all this? All of this was his work. When he entered into Jerusalem on that day we now call Palm Sunday everyone saw him as the superstar, he knew better. He wasn’t seduced with stardom, he knew it was an unhealthy idealization of the work he had to do. He wasn’t afraid of it either; he didn’t fall victim to despair by looking at the reality of his work in an unhealthy way. He knew what he was doing mattered. He had chosen to do it. I get this sense that Jesus was extraordinarily clear about what his work was – it was to love. To love us. You, me, everyone. Why? Purely because he did and he couldn’t turn it off. It didn’t matter if it was hard or it was easy, it didn’t matter if he liked doing it all the time or didn’t. It was the work that he had chosen and so like that woman who looked in the mirror each morning, touched up her hair and went forth ready to make the world a better place, Jesus was going to love us because he felt from the bottom of his heart that he was doing the right thing for the right reason.
Maybe that first Good Friday, when Jesus was killed, was really just another day at the office for him. He was just doing what he knew he was supposed to do. It wasn’t a matter of being hard to do, or easy. It wasn’t a matter of liking it or not. It was a matter of doing the work he knew he had been called to. And so he stretched out his arms and loved us with everything he had… just like he had always done.
What is your work? Choose it. Transform it if you must, but do it and live into it. Turn it into the power of God at work in the world, and in you. Remember, you GET to do this!
Posted in discipleship, emerging church, God, jacob's well, Jesus, Uncategorized, worship
Tagged Good Friday, ideal, Jesus, labor, mirror, real, work
Continuing our Jacob’s Well series on “The Elephant in the Room.”
Here are the text messages and notes people sent in during the service yesterday (11/17). See the input from last week’s service here. Leave comments or more ‘elephants’ below.
- Is the Bible to be taken as literal truth or parable stories to learn from?
- The entire book of Revelation x2; do we apply it today?
- How does the Bible fit into today’s world – in whole or in part?
- Do you need to be SMART to interpret the bible or ACCEPTING?
- Heaven and hell – can we take it literally that it exists? Is there a heaven?
- Justin mentions the bible was written by goat herders. What about revisions (with bias) made overtime by monks/priests through handwritten translation?
- Since the bible is written by “man” is it ok to view the bible as flawed as “man” is flawed?
- Are you unchristian if you have sex before marriage? Even when ur young?
- Is it our job to evangelize or lead by example?
- Is there only one religion of god (Christianity? Related: Is Jesus the only “son” of god?)
- Can Christianity exclude anyone (x2), and if it did, is it still Christianity?
- Is Atheism bad?
- If I tell someone I’m a Christian, it associates me with a lot of people I don’t like. How do I deal with that?
- How to reconcile what the Bible teaches about Jesus being THE only way into God’s kingdom and a personal belief or conviction that people outside of Christianity are welcome, too?
- Christians can’t “accept” other faiths/religions as full truth as well.
- Why do people feel a need to tell others that they are wrong?
- If God created everything – both good and bad – it’s my belief that then everything is for a reason. With that said, what is the reason that there is such a divide in the Christian faith? Are those with another opinion of God wrong? Is there a wrong? If not how do I deal with those that call themselves Christian, but don’t align with what I believe God is?
- I have a hard time truly grasping that Jesus was truly the son of God…really? And came back to life? Really? I sometimes wonder if I can really be Christian if I struggle to believe this.
- Why is it necessary to define oneself as a Christian? And how does the culture of worship interfere with Truth?
- Did Jesus become the son of God? What if God is a human construct and what is wrong with that?
- How did god impregnate Mary from heaven?? How is Jesus the son of god if Mary and god didn’t actually have sex? I’m confused.
- How is Jesus’ death and resurrection any less “fantastical” than old testament stories that work best as a metaphor?
- If Jesus was born Christ, isn’t it impossible to be life him? If he became Christ, the shouldn’t we expect ourselves to live better lives. If god is all that is, isn’t god more like quantum physics? How do you love quantum physics?
- So many wonderful questions, so little time. Thank you for the chance to wrestle with them so openly. I’ve wondered why we don’t talk about the Holy Spirit more here. I could talk about/listen about Jesus & God forever, but I’m not sure what to think about the Holy Spirit. Such a minor point, really, but it keeps niggling at me…P.S. I find it easier actually to be loved by the stars in the sky?
- Why do good Christians have to suffer in health areas? What is God’s purpose in sickness?
- Disease. Famine.
- Why do bad things happen? Suffering, war, hunger…
- I don’t understand war! It’s been around since the beginning. What does it ever prove?
- Why do the people with the least often receive more than their fair share of hardship? (i.e., Philippines)
- Why does God allow for so much suffering in the world?
- Sometimes love and grace can be so big that sin and injustice almost become irrelevant. What the hell happens with Hitler?
- Why do bad things happen if god can control almost everything?
- Who goes to heaven, the afterlife or whatever it is after the death of the body. What about your Jewish, Muslim, Atheist friends
- We don’t pray together every day. If I don’t pray in the morning or evening I feel undisciplined and not a good Christian.
- I wrestle with my sins in Galatians Chapter 5: 13-15. Will we be forgiven for our sins? Or not?
- Hearing God’s voice – how to decipher it it’s God.
- I’ve been spiritual and in tune to God up until now. Now, in middle age God is completely gone to me. I’m pretty much a non-believer. Why would God “go?”
Thanks for all the thoughtful and honest questions. We responded in some way to many of them, but certainly can’t say we resolved them all. That is a lifelong task. My hope isn’t to answer them all, but to let everyone know that questions and doubts are healthy. They can build faith. They are dangerous, not when they are thought, but when they are buried away.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged doubts, elephant in the room, emergent church, exclusivism, faith, God, Jacob's Well, Jesus, minneapolis, preaching, questions, worship