Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Great Mystery

Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen of angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.

Truly, our faith is shrouded in mystery. The Christ who was revealed did not always possess a human body. The Christ whose body was nailed to the cross was raised by the Spirit who has no body! The angels were the first to witness his resurrection and announce to the world that he was risen indeed. They were the last to escort him out of this world with the words, Why are you standing here staring into heaven. Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go! The humiliated Christ, resurrected, glorified will one day return!

Now that is mysterious!

Would it stand to reason that the working out of that faith through believers might be a little -- mystical?

We are in the midst of one of the greatest awakenings in history. Around the world, people in unprecedented numbers, are turning to God through faith in the mystery of Christ. In Central America and Asia the Spirit of God is validating the gospel of Jesus and his messengers as in the days of Pentecost.

Even in the gospel hardened United States young people are sacrificing stable employment and creature comforts in order to get the gospel embedded into some of the most difficult people groups. There have been more martyrs in the last 50 years than in the rest of Christian history combined. Young adults are going to the forgotten inner cities, Australia, Japan, China, Mexico, Africa, Muslim countries, and some of the most dangerous and gospel starved places on the globe. These barely, post teen-aged missionaries, are passionately tackling some of the greatest problems humanity has faced: Poverty, Aids, Violent and Corrupt Political Systems, Hunger, and most important -- Lostness. With wisdom and courage beyond their years, they are bringing the name and work of Jesus to each of these dilemmas.

I wish you could get to know some of them -- maybe you have. Zeal and youthful idealism does not accurately describe their commitment. Their faith is fresh but not naive -- they can spot a poser a mile away. Actions, not talking, define their faith. Going along with convention is not their strong suit, so the way they dress, their taste in music, their reckless abandon, and their minimalist approach to life evokes the criticism and suspicion of congregations where tradition is more important than relevancy.

God's work in their "out of the box faith" is hard to explain -- a bit mysterious. When I read the following quote from, Blue Like Jazz it seemed to summarize them. It helped, encouraged, and inspired me. Maybe it will do the same for you . . .

I don’t think you can explain how Christian faith works . . . It is a mystery. And I love this about Christian spirituality. It cannot be explained, and yet it is beautiful and true. It is something you feel, and it comes from the soul . . . I was watching BET one night and they were interviewing a man about Jazz music. He said Jazz music was invented by the first generation out of slavery. I thought that was beautiful because, while it is music, it is very hard to put on paper, it is so much more a language of the soul. It is as if the soul is saying something, something about freedom. I think Christian spirituality is like jazz music. I think loving Jesus is something you feel. I think it is something very difficult to get on paper. But it is no less real, no less meaningful, no less beautiful.
The first generation out of slavery invented jazz music. It is a music birthed out of freedom. And that is the closest thing I know to Christian spirituality. A music birthed out of freedom. Everybody sings their song the way they feel it, everybody closes their eyes and lifts up their hands.

Could the mystery of this new generation be that they are simply experiencing what the Spirit of God promised -- emancipation?

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