In many ways, gory seems to be the antonym of glory and I don’t commonly associate these words together besides the rhyming sound they make. But there’s a stark and startling place where these words converge into one place and that would be Jesus when He was crucified.
If you saw the movie by Mel Gibson, “The Passion of the Christ”, it showed with disturbing clarity the gory nature of Jesus’ death on the cross. I’ll never forget how deeply moved I was to the core of my soul when I saw this movie the first time. As I watched, I found myself repeatedly thinking, “please stop, that’s enough!” And at the end of the movie, I was entirely unraveled because I couldn’t escape the reality that Jesus endured this excrutiating experience entirely on the pure motivation of genuine love, full stop.
Jesus was glorified in the gory mess of human suffering, sin and sacrifice. And this continues to give me the assurance that Jesus can redeem human gore and transform it into divine glory, a truth that we would be wise to ponder throughout this weekend 🙂
Most of us are aware of the decision of the Grand Jury yesterday with the case related to Michael Brown’s death, along with the resulting rioting, demonstrations and violence. I’ve been thinking and praying about this for quite awhile & I’m extremely concerned about what is happening in St Louis.
I’m concerned because there has obviously been a problem that’s been growing there for quite awhile and Michael Brown’s death and the resulting Grand Jury decision is possibly the match that has ignited such a violent outburst of anger and frustration.
I’m concerned because our nation has had a tumultuous journey in resovling ethnic conflicts.
And I’m concerned to my core because the idea that violence can solve injustices has never proven to be a constructive road for progress and resolution.
When you look at history in the last century, some of our best leaders who were catalysts for constructive change in very unjust situations include: Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. As we commit to pray for Ferguson and the construtive resolution to this area, let’s consider the wise words of Martin Luther King Jr: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
May Jesus help us to bring peace where there is strife, love for hate, restoration for destruction and reconcilation for isolation.
Recently, there was a shooting in a suburb of St Louis where a white police officer shot & killed an african american teen, Mike Brown. There has been massive outrage, demonstrations and upheaval from this altercation with lots of accusations being thrown around. The National Guard has been called in to the area, curfews have been enforced and there’s a tremendous amount of anxiety, pain, frustration, anger, hostility and even some violent reactions to these events.
My goal with this blog is not to throw more fuel into an already intense inferno. Rather, I would ask you to join me in praying a few brief but powerful points for this situation:
peace and clarity
comfort and healing for the family who lost their son / family member
wisdom, strength and grace for the leaders in Ferguson & those who are involved in these events
There’s an interesting demonstration that’s going on around the country called Occupy & its made me think of what occupies me. We are all occupied by lots of things that could include: our desires, accomplishments, love, insecurities, addictions, shortcomings, hopes, family & relationships and much more. But I was thinking about this whole idea of occupy today & it reminded me about a verse from the Bible that says that I’m the “temple” of God, in other words, that God occupies me.
This idea has made me think about a few ideas that could possibly make God’s residence in my life a more comfortable place for Him to occupy.
*I think it’s important to make space in our lives for God to express Himself freely & with a minimum of distortion or even assistance.
*I also think that it’s important for God to feel comfortable in my daily living with how I treat the people around me, including my family.
*There are also times & situations that happen every day where I make decisions – I want to make decisions that will make God comfortable to be around me, even if I’m uncomfortable (letting His preferences be my priority)
I want my relationship with God to be my “pre-occupation” ,)
While this might be simple, it helps me to connect with the Holy Spirit by what He does – He relates, communicates (see the preceding 2 posts) & He demonstrates. The Holy Spirit demonstrates in many different ways – in 1 Cor 12 you can read about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (word of wisdom, word of knowledge, prophecy, speaking in tongues & interpretation of tongues – communication gifts; discerning of spirits, faith, miracles & healing – power gifts).
It is my sincere belief that the Holy Spirit wants to demonstrate Himself through us as believers in Jesus. Not only do i believe that He wants to demonstrate His Gifts through us, but i also believe that He wants to demonstrate His character through us – as listed in the Fruits of the Spirit in Gal 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness).
I think, however, that the key to His demonstration comes full circle back to our relationship with Him. Perhaps the demonstration of the presence of the Holy Spirit is lacking in our lives, or maybe minimized, because we lack a vibrant relationship with Him. Just something to consider 🙂