Friday, February 25, 2011

"That's Vhat I'm Talkging Abouut!"

"When Christ who is your life appears, then you aso will appear with him in glory." - Paul in some letter to a church in some strange land called Colossae.

Did you know that 1st century Christians were not only referred to as followers of the "Way" but of the "Life" as well? I didn't know this until yesterday. As I came upon this in my reading I was struck by the reality that our life is God's, or rather God is our life. We now have a life.

I was sitting at Panera's this morning experiencing this life with two dear friends. They were "bearing" with me and sharing "compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience" and binding them all together in "love." Such is life, the life of the "Life."

I rarely think of life in such selfless terms. Sadly my heart and actions often echo the sentiment that I've seen on bumper-stickers: "Life is shit, and then you die." Without God, I imagine this is a legitimate sentiment. In fact life is full of hardship, turmoil, heart-ache and let-downs. I often muse that I used to have dreams, and then I lived a little.

Life on this earth can crush us. Life from God can free us. Like the young dude (or was it an elderly lady?), in the movie that just came out (or came out sometime in the last year), who found himself alone in the mountains of Utah (or was it Wales?) with his arm crushed under a boulder (or was it a Fiat? Come on, you know the movie I'm talking about!), life can get us into some desperate situations (as you can see, I'm refusing to Google things today.). His only solution was to painfully sever his arm. Sermon illustrators the world over now rejoice upon hearing about this old lady who, crushed under the weight of a Fiat in the peat-district of Wales, bravely severed her arm to free herself!

I'm not going to go into that illustration though. I'm simply going to share how I'm finding life in people who are living in Christ. They attempt to live, breath and eat (especially eat) Christ. And from them I benefit enormously. If it were not for my brothers who are have this alien Christ-life, I know where I'd be. I'd be cruising aimlessly through the roads of life with all sorts of depressing bumper stickers like the one above slapped to my truck (or Ford Escort in very poor health - for those of you who know me).

We need eachother to live and to share that life with one-another. As westerners, to our severe detriment, we have been infected with the philosophy of "Autonomous Individualism." In America it's a virtue to go it alone. This is not at all the "Way" and the "Life." We are invited into a family, a community of brothers and sisters whose Father is God and Brother is Christ.

I used to always cringe when people would say, "There's no 'I' in team." And I loved it when my brother would come back with, "...but there is an 'm' and an 'e.'" He echoed all that is rebellious in American individualism: Me is what it's all about. The line from the movie "Despicable Me" still rings in my head, "That's vhat I'm talkging abouuut!" (the main character, who's an evil villian, has a thick Slavic accent).

My brother and the evil villian in "Despicable Me," have a lot in common. But one of the main things is self-exaltation (Not my brother here, or at least God's working on that.). Our whole culture is full of it. Just look at our sports heroes. To touch upon the sore subject of my life, it's one of the main reasons soccer will never truly make it in the States, because soccer truly is a team sport.

Our life in Christ, the "Life," is intrinsically others centered. First on God and second our brother. For those who claim Christ, community of some sort must happen. It's innevitable.

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiriual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God."

"Do-re-me-fa-so-la-(crack)ti!" (some of us are called to get the hymnals for others.) However it works, the "Life," is a beautiful thing, and I am grateful to have experienced in my brothers this morning. Isn't it just like Jesus to take something so simple as relating to one-another in love, and make it the cornerstone of His "Life."

I hope you experience The Life today. And if you aren't a recepient, don't sweat it, it's something that's supposed to be given away anyway.

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