Sunday, March 16, 2008

a city on a hill is made up of more than me.

as i've ruminated on all of this stuff (see previous post) i've become a little insecure, hoping i haven't offended the people around me, wishing i had the guts to not be insecure...but also genuinely desiring to accurately represent them...and i'm not sure i've done them justice when i assume things like what they mean when they ask me about personal ethics and i peg it as a bipolarization of Christian ethics and rest of my life ethics...and i've been afraid (as always) of coming off as arrogant and prideful because i think i've figured it out. i am so far from it. i am a helpless, weak, emotionally swayed ragamuffin who needs grace. that said....

today's sermon was on the next few verses in matthew, "you are the salt of the are the light of the world....a city on a hill". alongside the wonderful realization that these are descriptive statements about our identity and not commandments to go and do, i was taken by surprise at the context of community that is used.
after last week's sermon and my subsequent whirlwind of thoughts i started feeling like the only way i could really live out this radical call is to leave my current location and go work in an orphanage in some foreign country, or join the peace corps, or just get stronger in my own personal convictions. Today i heard over and over again that on our own strength, with our own resources and vision and commitment, we will not last. we need each other, and this life that God describes as the natural manifestation of a life lived in God's kingdom is not meant to be lived, cannot be lived, alone. Someone in our group made the statement that they were relieved to hear that they are intended to participate in God's work alongside others who have the same heart, who are like-minded. I was taken back because i had had the opposite reaction: How in the world am I (crazy vegan, eco-concerned, homeless loving, hillcrest dwelling me) going to find people who desire such an unattractive (by this world's standards of beauty and materialism and individualism) life??? (i've been filling in for the activities director at hillcrest the past week or two, and as i was talking and joking with Anita the other day she looked me dead in the eye and told me I needed to get a life.) (i really like parenthetical clauses today by the way) and as i type this i'm hit with the conviction that the people around me do have the same passions and vision and desire to bear witness to the kingdom. and while my bent may be the environment, christa's lovin like crazy on inner city kids at west athens, and mary's taking care of pediatric patients for 12 hours at a time, and esther's behind the scenes planning huge church events, and the list goes on...

so i'm not so much relieved at the thought of a community as i am challenged. excited and ready for the challenge, to be sharpened by iron, and hopefully to be an agent of new thought and re-imaging of God, together with my brothers and sisters.

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