Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lay it Down...

Life Journal readings for today are Jeremiah 28, Jeremiah 29, Jeremiah 30, and 1 John 3

Scripture: 1 John 3:16 (The Message)
"This is how we've come to experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us.  This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves."

The author of 1 John is talking about the way followers of Christ should treat each other, and how the love of God within us is manifested through the things we do and say.

This is one of the times I actually prefer the wording in "The Message" over the NIV.  The NIV says that Christ laid down his life for us so we should lay down our lives for others.  That's a great way to look at the death of Christ, but you can only lay down your life for someone else once, unless...

...unless, like The Message says, you live sacrificially for others. 

The same passage...the same original text...but two totallly different ways of presenting it.  That's why I love doing what I do, and the way God has molded my ministry.  We get the chance to tell folks about ancient stories and teachings in a brand new way.  Jesus taught that way.  Wesley taught that way.  Christ used the parables, stories about everyday life, to teach his followers a new way of being in the world.  Wesley decided to "become more vile" so that the word could be taken to folks who were not welcome, or could not attend their local parish church, and because of that some of our greatest hymns were sung to bar tunes.

There are folks that I would absolutely lay down my life for, which is exactly what it sounds like the NIV may be calling us to do.  Honestly, though, that's a relatively small group.  The ultimate sacrifice can only be given once.

However, the list of folks that I feel I can live sacrificially for is a much longer list.  I can serve.  I can teach.  I can guide.  I can love.  So can you, and in doing so, you can show them a better way.

Oh God who speaks to us, allow our hearts to hear what our heads may not understand.  Speak to us your words of love and sacrifice, then guide us as we live them out in the world.  Amen.

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