Tuesday, June 03, 2008

not only about me and God

Yes, the faith in Jesus is about us, each of us individually and our God in Jesus. God's love is intensely personal, beyond what is stamped in us as human beings made in God's image. So God cares about us to the most minute details of life.

But God's salvation in Jesus involves more than just "me and God." It involves the world. In Jesus, God has reconciled the world to himself, not counting people's sins against them (2 Corinthians 5) and has reconciled all things to himself in Jesus, in heaven and on earth (Colossians 1). In other words the great salvation in Jesus is cosmic in scope.

This is why I think it's so important that we care about what is going on in the world: among the inhabitants of the world as well as all of creation itself. Yes, including the spotted owl as we try to arrive to solutions in being good stewards of all of God's creation while helping people retain or have a livelihood- sufficient work (Genesis 1-3; Psalm 8).

We need more hymns and Christian songs that reflect this reality of the scope of God's great and good salvation in Jesus which begins even now, in this fallen world, destined someday to take over the world completely in shalom.

What thought might you like to share here?

Tomorrow: chapter 5: "Sword in the Stone: resistance" from L.L. Barkat's book, Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places.

13 comments:

Bob said...

I couldn't agree more. We need to work at getting the focus off ourselves, our personal struggles, victories, etc., and more on the long-tern and over-arching plan of God to redeem his creation. The reason we need to work at it is because we do tend to drift back into the "me and God" thing very quickly. Even our churches often influence us to retain this me-centered approach! It suits us, we're comfortable there, and it's in line with our instincts as fallen people! Anyway, thanks for the good post.

Rachel Mc said...

But, to get the "new christians" on the right path you have to start out on the "you & God" path.
The basis for my christian walk is my personal relationship with Christ, right? Then Christ will lead me to God, right? Then I should go out, in my own way and opportunity, to preach about Christ and my relationship, right? My problem is that sometimes I think my life is too messy and dysfunctional for God to use me to spread Christ's message. That is why I really enjoyed Stone Crossings, LL could use her life experiences to explain to people Christ's workings in her life. Maybe I will be someone who 15+ years from now I can look back and see the value of my life's experiences and how I can help people to Christ.
In the day to day stuff, some days I am just hanging on and I don't see how it can be useful to anyone.

NaNcY said...

yep, i agree with you in my own odd way. here is how i see it. there is a "me and God" through Jesus so there must be a me and everything else in the deal. it comes as a set. for if God is everything that He is then my relationship with Him opens me up to anything that He wants to use me for and any time that He wants to do it. and God has all of me in the deal as well...i wonder about this, but, He seems to love me, so i am not gonna argue with this. also, since i am living in this human bag of bones while i am here on this earth, i have to deal with the battle between the sinful nature and the new life that is mine through Jesus in the spiritual sense with the Holy Spirit within me. i agree with bob that i can easily drift into looking for comfort for myself when there is struggle. and sometimes i do not look to the comforter to help me with this, which is a total dead in street.

yes, i think that the good salvation in Jesus is for our relationship with God and for God's relationship with others in this darkness of the spiritually dead that are walking this earth right now.

there is spiritual light and life in in us...and even if we do not realize it...we are light in the darkness of the spiritual death , even while we walk in these boddies of bones and decay and brokenness.

we do not always know how we are being used. God works in such small and quite and patient ways sometimes that we do not realize where the Spirit of light in us is working.

and as far as the music goes... i think God probably likes songs that are full of His goodness. i think that maybe all of us could sing more of our own songs to God and about God in our life.

say your prayers with a tune of joy.
or with a groaning song of sadness.
or with a lovely song of praise.

maybe it will lead to a song of harmony.

shalom

NaNcY said...

do not be afraid of your shining light.

we are under cover agents, under cover of our body...but, we are also spirit and soul. the Holy Spirit will shine out to others from us ( and shine with our spirit as well ). Let the Spirit shine. let God Love you up.

if we allow the Love of God to flow...the Spirit does all the wonderful shining into the darkness...right?

God's Love is such an awesome power.
and His Spirit is in us with our spirit. our comforter, our strength, our guide and teacher.

God wants to give you His Love.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Bob,
I think this needs to figure in to what we're all about, for sure. It needs to get beyond just ourselves to the purpose for why we're here, and what we have to do.

Thanks.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Rachel,
In a sense I agree with you: it does begin with us and God through Jesus. And we need to share that testimony and seek to help others come to Jesus through the gospel.

But this gospel of Jesus being Lord is a gospel that goes beyond our benefit to what we're to do because of it. We're to help others to receive the same benefit or gift from God in Jesus- yes.

And we're also to care for this creation which in Jesus is to be made new (Revelation) in the various ways, directly and indirectly to which each of us are called in our unique callings from God.

But to bring others into this fellowship and calling is most important, without neglecting the good creation which is in Jesus is not left behind, either.

I think if we can get beyond that it's about us and God- and I believe, Rachel, that you already do that with raising your boys and your work at your church- as we get beyond that, it can help us in this calling we have in Jesus to be more and more what God has for each of us to be, in Jesus.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, Nancy. It is interesting the tie you make from "me and God" to "me and everything else." Good thought I think.

In Jesus we're to be concerned with all God is concerned about. That takes on a uniqueness to each one of us, but generally involves all for whom Jesus died and the creation which God in Jesus is to redeem.

I think we're still called to be stewards of God's good creation as God gave to humanity in Genesis. Along with the call to be Jesus' witnesses to the ends of the earth.

Allan R. Bevere said...

Ted:

A couple of years ago, I went through a praise chorus book that our church used for contemporary worship. I could only find a handful of songs deicated to this larger vision of which you speak. Most of it was "me and God" or "me and Jesus" centered.

Quite self-centered and selfish worship if you ask me.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Allan,
I have to agree if our worship simply is all about us and God. We need more hymns and songs depicting this larger vision given to us in Scripture, in Jesus.

Thanks for sharing that.

Every Square Inch said...

Thanks for the post. Life in the kingdom of God is both personal and corporate - not one to the exclusion of the other.

It's personal - since God demands from us, a personal response and personal obedience.

It's corporate - since He saves us into his family, his church. We walk not alone but together with others

Ted M. Gossard said...

ESI,
Thanks. I certainly agree. It's personal and corporate, and it's also cosmic in scope, so that we should be interested in all of God's creation, I believe.

And this is part of the calling we have in the gospel in Jesus for ourselves and others. It encompasses all of creation, or "every square inch" as your blog pen name.

L.L. Barkat said...

Ah, yes. God so loved the world. And why not? It all came flowing from His heart, His hand.

Ted M. Gossard said...

L.L.,
That reminds me of the verse in the psalms that says that the Lord is loving towards all he has made.

Amen.