I'm hungry today. For food, yes. But even more, for the Spirit to birth God's purposes in us. Whatever this is. This big beautiful dream to share life together as followers of Jesus embodying love in our neighborhoods -- so that our neighbors can actually taste and see that God is good and begin to experience the grace and shalom of the kingdom. This is what I'm hungry for.
As we were praying this morning, I was overwhelmed by this. I could feel the tears of intercession and the fire in my belly. Oh, how I long for us to see the truth of who God is. Not the monster gods of our own shame-laden and fearful imaginations. Punitive, unyielding kill-joys bent on moral policing and who's in and who's out. This is not the God I know. Nor is it the God portrayed in Jesus.
If there is one reason that makes me just crazy enough to attempt pastoring a church, this is it. The glaring discrepancy between how most of my neighbors perceive God and the truth of who God is. I grieve over this. I grieve over the ways that I still don't get it. I grieve over the layers of bad news that the church has propagated that actually serve as barriers to the grace of God.
This beautiful, extravagant, abundant, scandalous grace.
If ever there was a time for good news in the world, this would be it. Jesus came at such a time too. And he proclaimed and demonstrated a new day of grace and the end of religion. This is something I can get behind -- something I don't mind getting on my soapbox for. God's kingdom of love is the best news in town.
But words mean nothing if we are not living out this way of love in an embodied way, sharing life together where the rubber hits the road. All these scriptures we know and yet struggle to live into in any substantiative way.
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” [John 13:35]
"No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. [I John 4:12]
"No one has ever seen God, not so much as a glimpse. This one-of-a-kind God-Expression, who exists at the very heart of the Father, has made him plain as day. [John 1:18]
And so today, this is my prayer. That Jesus would be revealed through us as his body fashioned together to be a home for the presence of God and to be his hands and feet in the world.
That we would know the breadth and length, the depth and height of God's extravagant love.
And that our neighbors would know it too. That they could see what God is like.
This is my deepest hunger and desire.
You see, the thing about fasting is hunger.
by Jessica Ketola