As we ended our nearly two year study on the book of Luke this morning in church, we took a look at how Jesus open the eyes of his disciples to see how the whole of scripture points to him. While on one level it would have been nice if Luke had included that sermon in his Gospel, one can also interpret the entire book of Luke as being that sermon. The whole book echoes the themes of the Old Testament fulfilled in Jesus Christ and his teachings.
Part of the discussion included looking at the categories N.T. Wright presents in Simply Christian
. In summing up the main themes of scripture, that represent as well the deepest longings of human existence, Wright creates four categories. These include - The Torah which defines our relationships, The Temple which represents our spiritually, The Kingdom which demonstrates justice, and New Creation which demonstrates our longing for beauty. These themes show up over and over again in the Old Testament and in the teaching of Jesus. He is calling us to live lives that tap into those longings and can be fulfilled through them. By developing right relationships, discovering true spirituality, seeking justice, and pursuing beauty we live in the ways we were meant to live.
But those are often the very things that are ridiculed by the world and discarded in favor of power and success. It is often the countercultural revolutionaries who uphold those biblical values while the mainstream promotes contrary values. I found it amusing last night that I saw that cultural struggle represented in one of my favorite movies. Moulin Rouge
tells the story of the fin de siècle Bohemian revolutionaries in Paris who are seeking a new way of living out their values of Freedom, Beauty, Truth, and Love. They are of course despised and condemned as silly and impractical and told to cure themselves of "this ridiculous obsession with love." I find the movie brilliant on many levels, but it was a good reminder that pursuing the values of the Kingdom is strange and challenges the dominant paradigm of culture.
To promote right relationships and to seek justice is to love others. To discover true spirituality and beauty is to love God and his creation. To actually live out these great commandments as it were goes against the messages of selfish ambition, greed, isolation, and power that the world promotes as primary. To follow Jesus one has to be revolutionary. Being ridiculously obsessed with love is impractical but it's the way we are supposed to live. If it takes changing the way we approach everything in order to live the life we were meant to live, are we willing to do it? Is our faith real enough for us to leave everything and follow Jesus? To stop caring about ourselves and start caring for others? To join the revolution?
Labels: Church, mission, Theology