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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 1, 2014

God taps us on the shoulder and shakes us awake

By Rev. Dan Spray, Community of Christ Church | Aug 16, 2013

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has annointed me to bring the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Luke 4:18-19

For Moses, it was an ordinary day as he herded the grazing sheep. Then God called–from a burning bush–and his life changed direction.

Matthew was at his booth, collecting taxes. He didn't care much for his job, but he lived comfortably (more than most), and he was dedicated, (though not popular). Then Jesus walked by, invited him to leave his booth and join him. Matthew's life was never the same.

Saul (later called Paul) was busy ridding society of radical Christians who were upsetting religious and political norms. It was just another day of "justified persecution" on the road to Damascus when he was struck blind and "saw" his life's mission dramatically turned around. Christ's mission became his mission.

Few have had these extrodinary encounters where God calls from a bush, a booth, or from the darkness; but God calls us just the same. God taps us on the shoulder, enters our conscience, or shakes us awake to be aware of and to serve people in need. Like Moses, Matthew and Paul, responding to God's call can radically change our lives. Our life's work becomes a culmination of simple acts of serving others, making a difference in the life of even one person, relieving one burden at a time. So, annoint us God, tap us on the shoulder, "dope slap" us if you have to; but call us, and we will follow, we will serve.

Consider the first verse lyrics of this hymn written by Daniel Charles Damon:

"I have called you by your name, you are mine; I have gifted you and ask you now to shine. I will not abandon you, all my promises are true. You are gifted, called and chosen; you are mine"

Spark change in our lives, God and we will change others by sharing Christ's peace.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Steve Wilson | Aug 16, 2013 17:51

Troubling.

Are You serious? 

I try to imagine a world where your last line was the center piece of a nation's heart felt "foreign policy" in action. 

I ask, who is the foreigner? I hear, Who is your neighbor? 

The answer given by the Good Samaritan is unworkable, isn't it? Like the Constitution, that parable is something decorative to hang on the wall. After all, look at those who took such stuff seriously in the past and what happened to them!

It is enough to love those who love Us. The reward for loving our enemies escapes Us while the risks of doing so are obvious to Us.

So, We have learned well how to avoid the consequences that would surely follow if We took the decorations off the wall. But I am left to wonder if We well understand the consequences of not taking such stuff seriously? 

Anyway, it is certainly worth a try, now isn't it? Why love our enemy if We can get his stuff (oil) by hating him and put our lives at risk by loving him?  

Why worry about civil liberties if You are part of the "in" crowd? If You do not smoke dope or send secret messages to a hooker, what have You to fear? How confident We are that We will never allow ourselves to be the outcast. How blind We are to the membership dues that history teaches will one day be paid for being a protected member of the in-crowd; be those dues paid by us or by our grandchildren.

Christ's peace is on the other side of the suffering and the humiliation of the cross. Wouldn't we rather die fighting? He assured Us, His kingdom is not of this world, while We assure him... We are.

No matter the choice We make We all die. Hating our enemy may not buy eternal life but it does keep oil prices down and it does give Us the opportunity to revel for a moment in the power of our violence.    



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