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Monday, January 8, 2018

Be the Light

Related imageSometimes it feels like everything is just awful. Like things just can't get any worse.
All around, we see division, anger, hatred. So much brokenness. So much injustice.

Yet the Church has an opportunity in this moment. We have a chance to cast a vision of God's restored Kingdom. To embody a Holy dream. To lead.

Too often we focus on the brokenness, the violence, and the injustice. That's what get's the most attention, and riles people's emotions.

It's good to point out what's missing in this world. It's good to identify the things that break God's heart. But too often we just stay there. The the world is good at pointing out what's wrong. God's people are called to shine on what is right.

I am reminded of a recent MennoNerds conversation I had with Osheta Moore, author of Shalom Sistas: Living Wholeheartedly in a Brokenhearted World. She observes, "I am surrounded by people who are so eager to notice the brokenness in the world." Doing the work of shalom is not about "camping out in the broken," Osheta continues, "because we don't have to go too far to find the broken. The broken is as close as our Facebook feed. Our job is to say, yeah that's broken, but God's dream for it is this picture of wholeness. God's dream for it is this being restored."
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Osheta reminds us that a call for true shalom is a call into a vision of something whole, something just, something greater than what the world proposes.

It's not that we should ignore the injustice and the brokenness. We know the issues are real, with devastating consequences for ourselves and for our neighbors. But what if, because we know these issue are real, what if we framed the issues around what could be, and not just what isn't?

The world already spends too much energy denigrating our communities, telling us what we don't have and what's wrong with us. And too often our churches are the first to contribute to the barrage of negativity and shame, pointing out everything that is wrong and how far we have fallen.

We do it because we care. Because we know it's not what God would have for us. We do it to provoke change. But we end up missing the Imago Dei in the very people we are trying to champion.

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Instead, if we will allow God light of hope, of wholeness and shalom, to be our focus, we will inspire each other into truly living into our call as the hands and feet of Christ on this earth. The energy will shift, and we will realize that we are already equipped to achieve the change we are seeking. We will move out of our guilt and into redemption. We will no longer be paralyzed in heartbreak and despair, but will mobilize our communities into something better.

The world looks around and sees darkness, despair, and disillusionment. But that's not who God is. "God says there is more. There is beauty, there is flourishing, there is hope. There is the Holy Spirit. There is good." God says "let there be light!"

We believe in a world filled with equity and with justice. We believe that everyone deserves to live. We believe every culture is beautiful and worthy. We believe children can be fed and healthy. We believe that every vote should count, and that laws should be fair. We believe schools can be safe and healthcare can be affordable. We believe all neighborhoods can be prosperous and all people can be truly free.

The world will tell us it cannot be done. But Jesus says, "yes it can."

This is the work of the Church--the work of hope. Let us reclaim our place as prophetic witnesses to God's vision for the world. And then let us partner with God in bringing about that Kingdom "on earth as it is in Heaven"

It's a new year. It's the season of Epiphany.
Let's us be the Light, Church.
Be the Light. 

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By Their Strange Fruit by Katelin H is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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