Wednesday, December 24, 2008

high school chapel - content part 2

We're talking about our response to the incarnation of Christ.

Response #1: Worship

Response #2: Be like Jesus.

This gives me an opportunity to talk about "incarnational ministry." It's a current buzzword, but the concept's been around a while. The idea is to become like, or in the very least be present with and live among the people that you are serving.

Paul did his ministry this way. Check out 1 Corinthians 9.
Jesus did it too. Early in his ministry someone handed him a scroll of Isaiah's prophesy, and he applied these verses to himself. He came to preach good news to the poor. And so what did he become? The same Jesus who said this. He was poor, homeless. He was born in a stable.

That's incarnational ministry.

For me, God has clearly told said that I am to spend my life in service to the poor and oppressed. You may think I'm crazy. God doesn't really speak that clearly to us humans, does he? Well, actually he does. We just need to listen. For those of you struggling with 'God's will' for your life, here's a little advice.

m a t t's advice on discerning "God's will"
  1. don't take yourself too seriously. really. If God has a very specific plan for you're life, he'll let you know. But God is big. He isn't dependent on whether we make the "best" choice. Is it God's will for you to go to this school or that school? In the scheme of eternity, it probably doesn't matter too much.
  2. read Proverbs 16:1-9. This will help with #1. [see my related post here]
After that aside, back to our story. God has asked me to live my life in service to the poor and oppressed. He has asked me to imitate him in the incarnation. So, I'm moving to the ghetto with three other guys that I met this summer.
Now, it's certainly true that I can in no way actually become the incarnation of the people that I go to serve. I am a super-privileged, wealthy, suburban, upper-middle class, white male. I'll never not be a white male, right? So true incarnation is impossible for us. Paul admits that when he says he becomes to those under the law like on under the law and qualifies it with the parenthetical "(though I myself am not under the law)".
But I can experiences the same injustices, the same fears. I can be present when the street light doesn't get fixed for a month instead of the day it takes in the suburbs, when the plow skips my street, when the gangs terrorize my block, when the dealers push drugs on my corner. That's the incarnation that I can do.

So now it's your turn. If the Logos has become your Lord, how will you respond? The Creator who has become creation says "Imitate me." What will you do? Who will you serve?
The first response to the incarnation must be worship. The second is a challenge I'm facing, a call to live incarnationally.

[Pray.] [Answer questions.]

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