…it was not done in a corner.
—Paul, The Acts of the Apostles 26:26
Living in God's New Community
The Christian community is the outpost of the Reign of God in a world that has yet to learn that its old rulers and gods have been put to flight by the Easter event. It provides a fellowship of healing and redemption in which men and women can be restored to humanity as it was meant to be.
What does it mean to bear witness that Yahweh has raised up his Christ from the grave, and also raises up men and women to a life with himself here and now?
This cannot be accomplished through mere preaching, or religious presentations, or whatever programs someone devises as “evangelism.” The good news of our restoration to God through Christ can only be demonstrated in the whole life of an entire community. Words are nice, but they just aren’t enough. Only living with people would give you an idea of what this looks like.
So I tell my story. My life, in the context of my wounds and failings, my strengths and God’s healing, is one example of what redemption can like. Not for anyone to emulate, but simply to listen. My primary audience (to my mind) is my friends, the people with whom I share community life. I put into words parts of my story that I share with the community. Some folks I haven’t met read also this stuff, surely. God bless you. Maybe we’ve been to some of the same places in our journeys.
In the life I live with Christians, many of those places are considered godforsaken. They aren’t, and we aren’t. I demonstrate that with my life and explain it with my words.
Jesus of Nazareth was Yahweh come to judge his people, and to redeem them all at once. He took the suffering of Israel and the punishment due their idolatry upon himself. In the person of Jesus, Yahweh himself became godforsaken, abandoned by the people, accursed by the law, and destroyed by the pagans.
Yahweh vindicated Jesus, and all those who are in the Messiah find themselves vindicated as well, blameless and without fault, raised up to new life in him. This is the restoration of our humanity.
Jesus the Crucified God is ever near the godforsaken.