Tuesday, March 09, 2010

lenten 40: day 18 - your hand in mine

image 18.

the essence of faith is lived out in community. no one was meant to be alone. there are no 'lone ranger' Christians, either. the faith was build around the idea of community. Jesus' ministry was, at its roots, about building a kingdom - a community of sorts - with followers of the Way living out examples of love (and all that comes with that) for all the world to see, hear and experience.

Jesus showed us the way to build community. Think of how he reached out to the woman at the well (John 4), the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) or the Garesene demoniac (Mark 5:1-20). Just a few examples of people on the fringe... lost or alone... outcasts. the lowest of the low - then Jesus comes along and extends a hand. provides correction. loves unconditionally and offers a means to a better way of living.

these are just a few of the many magnificent stories of Jesus. the most interesting thing is this: what happened after Jesus offered love? individuals who had these encounters with the Savior went and entered the community - sharing their magnificent stories of Jesus' love and grace.

check it out for yourself! what happened next to these people?

the woman at the well - after being offered 'living water' went and told everyone about Jesus.
28Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29"Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
~John 4:28-30

the woman caught in adultery was given a second chance, told to go and sin no more. she immediately became a follower of Jesus and was welcomed into that community.

Zacchaeus, after having that Jesus encounter, gave money to the poor and hosted a fellowship meal at his house. (Luke 19:5-10) what a way to build community!

after Jesus cast out the demon's from the man in the region of Garesene
19Jesus said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
~Mark 19:19-20

people were in awe.

what a way to build community. this is what Jesus does. He built up a community of believers based on love... it's amazing how far an extended hand or a simple conversation can go when one follows Jesus' example of community building. we should willingly follow such an example.

we weren't meant to be alone. that is not God's plan.

build up communities based on Jesus' example. live out love. share stories. extend your hand.

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