The post below is the weekly email I send to Advent Pres folks. Check it out!
The Big Give
John’s gospel tells us that Jesus is God in flesh who made his dwelling among us (John 1:14) or as Eugene Peterson’s The Message puts it, God “moved into the neighborhood.” At its heart, Christianity is a wager in proxemics, of God moving in and dwelling with humanity. In one of the last stanzas Revelation, the whole of the Biblical drama arrives to its stunning conclusion:
“Look! God’s dwelling place in now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” (Rev. 21:3)
The whole of the Bible’s hope is that creation will move towards one another and towards God, as God has already done in Christ Jesus. The Christian faith operates in a bit of a paradox, then. We are nomadic in that we move towards the needs within God’s world. But we also dwell, to have a “stubborn loyalty” as Jon Tyson puts it, to communities and partnerships where we find life and friendship.
One of the cosmic struggles we face today is the refusal to get along with one another. Atheist thinker Kurt Vonnegut nails it on the head:
“There are too many of us and we are too far apart from one another.”
Our communities are crowded, but our proximity doesn’t seem to transform us to be more pliable, humble, and attentive people. We are tempted to stay far apart instead of getting used to dwelling together. We quickly lose our tempers, breathe out passive aggressive sighs, roll our eyes in indifference, and say demeaning things under our breath.
If we are not careful, a thousand little slights towards our neighbor can evolve into hardened worldviews and preferences and the more difficult it becomes to imagine God’s renewed creation, his dream to dwell with all of his people at the end of the age. Part of our Christian disciple process is to learn to embrace, enjoy, and enrich all of life around us as we anticipate Jesus’ return.
This weekend, we’ll conclude our Vitals sermon series with an invitation into an experiment. You might remember that we set aside a portion of our Christmas Eve service offerings for a project that we named “The Big Give.” This Sunday, the wait will finally be over and we will share the details about The Big Give. At the conclusion of the sermon at both campuses, we will invite Advent folks to join temporary groups of compassion that will seek to do good for immediate needs around us.
The project will serve as a practice in proxemics, convincing us that the places where we dwell are strategic places for mission and that God blesses us in order for us to be a blessing to others. I hope that you will be there on Sunday and that God will lead you to respond to the invitation to participate in The Big Give.
What I’m Currently Reading: Jim and Casper Go To Church by Jim Henderson
What I’m Currently Watching: The final episodes of “The Office” (so good!)
What I’m Currently Listening to: Chase the Lion audiobook by Mark Batterson
An App I find Helpful: Patreon