I am going to try and start writing a little bit more and sharing it on Facebook when I do and linking you to the post on the website.
Families are an important part of our society, and of creation. Families are a suppose to be a place of support and nurturing, yet we either know or are part of a family that this is not totally the case. Living in a society where to some it seems that the family has gone down on the values list because of wants and desires and even the changing face of society, it can be hard to find the time to nurture togetherness.
Why is this important? Togetherness should be about valuing the family as a whole and looking past yourself to see something greater as a whole. Without this look past yourself, you may only focus on your needs, your wants to the detriment of the whole family. I have know families that this was the case with one or more people in the family. The family suffered emotionally, always trying to meet the endless needs of the one, and sometimes physically because the one used up the majority of the family resources. However, when we merely focus on the others, and forget about the family as a whole, we take individuality to a dangerous place that in the end can breed selfishness and blindness to those around them. You can be selflessly be running yourself crazy trying to please everyone in the family and giving them what each of them want in an effort to make them feel loved and normal. Giving them every opportunity they want but not always the opportunity they need. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be doing some of the wonderful activities available, but do you really of the time and the patience for everything, including and most importantly time together.
When we take that time to be together as a family interacting, sharing, laughing and crying, encouraging and correcting, doing life together modelling love and relationships we have the opportunity to give and receive love that is based in the being of God. Remember, it is not that we need more time in the week, for some of us we need less things to do. When it comes down to it, when we look back at life the most meaningful times people remember are times that are shared with people that are important to them, people that let them know that they were important too and would fight for them no matter what.
As I watch the Olympics, the most meaningful moments are not the wins themselves but the families that won together, not just the person competing. Will you work for your togetherness or will you look back at life and wonder why it seemed so lonely? Will you allow Jesus who came to die for us because our sin, our rebellion had separated us from God, and Jesus was fighting for our togetherness, to be part of the family of God, and to show us how important each relationship is.
Have you ever noticed how rules are meant to enhance your relationship. When we know the rules we are able to honour who we are trying to be in relationship with. Sometimes the rules are given by God, some by society, some by the other person, and some we decide upon mutually. Rule are not meant to be oppressive yet if we miss use the rules, they can be. Also, if we focus more on the rules than on the relationship, like merely trying to follow the rules to make yourself look good, then the rules become empty of value because you are trying harder to have a relationship with the rules than with the other person or with God.
In the Ten Commandments God tells us how to be in relationship with Himself and with others and Jesus follows through with these rules. What we might find different is that as we see Jesus following through with these commandments and at times challenging the Pharisees’ idea of how people were to live out the rules, Jesus shows us the depth of relationship in the rules and how they bring people together with God and with each other. In Jesus we see God reaching out into people’s lives and bringing them closer to Himself, instead of allowing people to continue to push them away. Jesus reaches out within the rules and brings life and renew, hope and love, without sinning, in so doing, He shows us how things are meant to be, breaking with the broken status quo.
We have just passed Remembrance Day. A day when we stop to remember all those who have given their lives so that we could experience the freedom that we have today. We stop to remember the sacrifice and pray that we will learn how to live for peace.
As I was preaching yesterday, it hit me, not that others haven’t thought of this before but I realized it for myself that as much as people might complain about religion and faith, when we focus on God and live out the Gospel of peace, we wouldn’t have the wars and travesties that we have today. Essentially all of the violence starts because we are self focused and not focused on God. We might enter a war or a confrontation because we are trying to stand between oppression and innocence but the violence starts from being focused on ourselves in one form or another. It might not be pride or racial superiority, greed or hate, it might be self preservation or trying to stand our ground as a sign of strength. I know this is too simplistic but think about what would happen if we were all focused on Jesus instead of our worries, or whatever is going on inside of us. As much as this sound to like self denial, it is actually self care because Jesus is the one who can handle it all, and in Him we can find the freedom and fulness of life that we are fighting for in one form or another. Remember that it was Jesus who took time for the injured, marginalized, oppressed, rich, and forgotten, the intellectual, and the worker. By focusing on Jesus we are opening up ourselves and the world to the healing that we all so desperately need. But that would mean I would have to let go and look towards Jesus, we all would. Maybe then we would understand and be consumed by the peace that we stand and remember and hope for.
We are into a new message series entitled “Working towards the Kingdom” We have walked through “Knowing God” and our previous series “The Kingdom” and now we are looking at what it means to living out the grace and love that we have because of Jesus and sharing it with others as Jesus did. We are trying to live out the hope that we have in Jesus and show people a glimpse of the Kingdom of God that Jesus is revealing to us and has revealed to us through the Bible.
Yesterday, we talked about living in forgiveness. It is incredible how life changing forgiveness is. When we realize how important the forgiveness that Jesus brings into our lives we need to share it and show people grace. We looked at what Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:1-17 from the Message translation and saw how people can confuse the gospel but also how Jesus can take even the worst of sinners a man who had no problem with murder, whose heart was hardened and wanted to condemn, a man who was so focused on his hate that it took Jesus appearing before him and blinding him and Jesus transformed him into a witness and example of Jesus’ grace and love.
We all start out on the same level before God, we are all sinners. We are no better than another person, we do have the love and grace of Jesus, not that this makes us more important, it makes Jesus more important. We all start out as sinners but when we accept the forgiveness of Jesus, we are to bear witness to those around us of Jesus’ forgiveness.
Are you living as a witness to Jesus’ forgiveness and faithfulness? Live it out.