Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

Just a quick check in. Not a lot to tell new.

It is amazing how often in a day that my mind just explodes with some sort of learning from my classes and I am like "I got to blog about that." Then of course there is the realization that I need to still write several papers and I have finals just around the corner. So my brain "push-ups" turn to that work instead of talking to you all.

Finals are in 4 weeks, that sounds like a lot of time, and during my undergrad I probably would not have even opened a book yet. However, I will need every minute of that time to prepare for these finals. So if you have second, please pray for my focus, memory power, and some extra hours of energy. I would appreciate it.

Single or with someone, I hope you have all had an amazing Valentines day, or Saturday for that matter...

Peace

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Restoration

This stream of conscious blogging may get addicting, be warned!

I was listing to a New Testament lecture last week and the professor used a quote that has stuck with me so deeply over the last few days. I feel like it was one of those breakthrough thoughts in clarity where your paradigm shifts one dial on the nob closer to truth. The quote had to do with the miraculous healing ministry of Jesus:

"Jesus' healings are not supernatural miracles in a natural world. They are the only truly 'natural' thing in a world that is unnatural, demonized and wounded." Jurgen Moltman, The Way of Jesus Christ. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993), 99.

Wow, I had always understood redemption in God's terms as returning things to the way that they were always meant to be at the point of creation, in the Garden of Eden. For some reason, however, I had never allowed the scope of Christ's redeeming ministry to permeate outside of the scope of individual spirituality. Now I have cognitively understood that God at one point in time will return all things to the way they were meant to be. However, I have always seen that as a moment in time and not a process. Redemption in my mind has always been a point, not a journey.

I do believe that we can take many learnings from the healing ministry of Christ: it was a sign of his power and deity, it was to reward faith, it was to create teachable moments for his followers, and it was a natural compassionate response to hurting and dieing people. Yet, when we read Colossians 1:16 "For in him all things were created:" we recognize that so much of the healing ministry of Jesus was simply the Creator returning things to the way that he intended them to be. In my mind this moves Jesus from just being a "great physician" who is making things work again, but he is the source of life who is restoring things to their intended order. A subtle, but I believe profound difference.

This shift in my mind moves Christ's acts of healings out of the category of "improving the recipients standard of living." It redefines his acts of healing as the author of life exerting his will and power of the dismal affects of sin on his creation. I imagine Christ saying in his heart as he healed the blind man "I never intended you to not see," to the lame man "I did not create you to limp," to the bleeding woman, "I did not author you to hemorrhage."

In his healing ministry Jesus gives us a glimpse of what "in the beginning" looked like and he points us to finality of "New Heaven and New Earth." As I make this learning my own I recognize a whole new meaning and motivation in our modern day "social justice" ministries. The work of social justice finds its true heart when it is not defaced by the attitude of obligation, responsibility, or duty. Instead, the work of mercy is given the breath of truth when I recognize I am joining with the original intentions of the Creator. Now my heart can cry out while I feed the homeless "you were not meant to go hungry," as I play with the orphan "you were not created to grow up without parents," sitting with the widow "you were not intended to feel so alone," mourning with the dieing "you were not designed to feel so much pain."

(As an aside, I think we can also apply this understanding of redemption to environmental preservation and restoration. When God said "subdue" - Genesis 1:28 - he did not mean waste, deface, pollute, abuse. When we live out redemption in every area of our lives, then acts of environmental stewardship are no longer selfish acts of worshiping and idolizing the earth, but righteous acts of ordering things to the way the were meant to be and will one day be again.)

Though we may not be able to exert the miraculous healing powers of Jesus at will. We have the privilege of taking the heart of the Creator to a broken and dieing world with the plea, "this is not the way it was intended, this is not the way it will always be." Jesus' healing ministry cries out to us "redemption is happening, and will be fulfilled in all things."