Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Let there be light

Really, is that what its come to ............... is that what we make people feel like.

I hinted in a previous post that that scary word 'evangelism' might look kind of different than it does sometimes. Maybe we need to get back to being a 'light to the nations' which is what the Bible calls God's followers to be. Paul talks about shining as stars. The religious observance (eg fasting) God loves seems to be a bit different to beating each other up or thanking our doctrinal stars that we are on the right side of a certain line.

This is what God says in Isaiah 58

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free

and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry

and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday."

I can see something in the darkness..... its what we could be, its what we could all be....it looks like.... Good News!


DS said...

Hmmm... how does this fit in with Shopping?

mark said...

Good one, Schof. Its great to read that stuff again.

Dee said...

I totally agree and its something I have been thinking about lately. All too often it feels like church (in the wider meaning of church, not GF, as I think its different there actually) is a place to be judged, condemned, or made to feel guilty about something! To me this is totally unattractive - let alone how it appears to people who don't normally go to church. Therefore I am not motivated to want my friends to be part of that. Much more motivating would be the chance to include friends in conversations about justice/injustice, ethical shopping and many other issues we deal with in day to day life. How does this mean we are to do 'evangelism' then? My gut feeling is that it will look totally different to the traditional way but I would like to know what it does look like!! Bring on more Engage discussions I say!

DS said...

Thanks for your comments guys.

I think its a great conversation for us to be having. Rereading my post I am not saying sin is not a major issue in my life and the life of all of us who are personaly and corporatly complicit in our own abuses of God, his order, world and children. Its just that I think the bible calls me to recognise this & repent, speak truth to it and get with the (Gods) program of sorting it out. I think we often seperate these things out into 'getting saved' 'getting others saved' and doing 'social justice'. Not sure that splitting them out like that helps.

It's confusing as well- saving stuff mainly talks about getting into heaven / being safe from future judgement whilst socail justice is about the nitty gritty physical stuff of life now.
Also 'saving' stuff relies on 'you are an undeserving sinner' whilst true socal justice requires 'you are valuable just as you are'

Surely the truth is a combination of all those things. I am uniquly valuable in Gods eyes, amazing in fact, full of his image and potential but also fallen and broken and sinfull. I am not just dust I am a spiritual being created for eterintal significance but I also get hungry, bullied etc These are inseperable complentary aspects of being human so the bible tells us and therefore of course the good news addresses all of this

I am thinking more about 'worship' at the moment. (the Isaiah passage is about worhsip God wants - as was Hosea we did at GF)

Holistic whole life stuff that encompases celebration, feast, cherishing and valuing, confession,lament,loving God, loving others as self, looking after the poor,oppressed, the planet, trying to follow the radical teachings of Jesus, resisting our empires and walking and working to change things in the presence and power of the risen Jesus and his kingdom. The Jesus who has opened up a way for us to know, in him and in our transformed relationship with the world, life in all its fullness free of guilt and shame and full of grace mercy justice power etc

That seems like a bigger story and one that should be visible in the everyday stuff our friends encounter in us (e.g. shopping!), one we can explain with humility and pride because it is more than -you are evil now pray this prayer and it will all be ok. It's much much bigger than that...

and its not a story we just 'tell' 'them' (in a extreemly well meaning but mercenary fashion).

Its a story we actually live (try to anyway!)

DS said...

And finally... (toprove i can be short!)

Living in the way Isaiah is talking about isn't just for the benefit of others (check it again) its for our benefit as its the way of life we are designed for and are fulfilled through

(we all know it as well else why does helping people feel so good?)