Thursday, March 8, 2012

Finding God in ordinary lives

I wonder how often the average Christian in the pew connects what they believe with what they actually do? So let me ask you, where is faith and God in your ordinary, work-a-day life? And please understand that I am not talking about coming within the Church buildings walls and the things you do for fellow parishioners... where do you see God in your ordinary life?

There are a couple of things that we need to be aware of making such an examination. For example, many in my parents’ generation would point to living out the Ten Commandments. Do we really stop these days to remember what the Ten Commandments are all about? Essentially, the Ten Commandments are there to keep you from offending God and your neighbour. This is why we are told, “Thou shalt not” do certain things. It is to protect your relationship with God and to keep your neighbour healthy and happy. Obeying the commandments will make you a nice, maybe even a good person but God wants, desires and demands more than that. God desires his people to be holy as he is holy and let’s remember here that holiness and righteousness are not about who you are, but rather about who you are relating to. That’s why we are reminded at the beginning of the Ten Commandments, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery."

The Law was given to a group of slaves who would be honed into being a royal possession, a holy nation and a royal priesthood for God. The Law was what people needed to know about their relationship with God and with each other to create community and there for a bond with each other.  Here are some other things about the Law that would be important to know:  

·         Of 613 Jewish commandments, 365 were negative (thou shall not) and 248 were positive (you shall).

·         Commandment is not so much a law as a ideal to be aimed towards

·         What we really need to do is ' unwrap' the commandments.

·         In the modern world, we have 35 million laws to enforce the 10 Commandments.

And all this has brought an interesting question to mind: if things were so good and if people were nice, then why did Jesus get angry and disrupt the Temple during the busiest time of the year (John 2.13-22)? It is not an easy answer but it might have something to do with what we have made of worshipping God. The Temple was the place where people from all over the earth were coming to approach God and meet with him. People had taken this meeting and made it into something else. The worship of God was being (albeit in a sort of kind way) subverted into something that was neither wanted nor intended by God.

The cleansing of the Temple was about righteous anger and about divine justice. Jesus, being God, wanted to return his people to the way things were before the sin and fall of the human race. Therefore he sought to put things right so that he could offer back to the Father what belongs to him. Thus, is it possible then that anger might show what we are truly passionate about and therefore show what we would truly live and maybe even risk dying for?

So let’s bring things to our level then. Jesus drove out the animals, tossed the tables, and upset the clergy. Why did he do that? Because Jesus wants to show us how to live the counter intuitive, cruciformed lives of the kingdom within the life of the community we live in. So what things are there in your life that need to be tossed out, tipped over, driven out with a whip or burned down? Maybe we need to see Jesus in a different light. If we change our attitude towards Jesus then maybe our attitudes towards God and neighbour will change for the better too. And if that is the case then our approach to the worship of the Almighty will begin to be more real and deepen in terms of praise, in prayer and in worship.

Remember, Jesus is leading this parade, this exodus in to the Kingdom of God. He is leading us from the old Temple that is made of stone into the new Temple made of living stones and of which we will become part. And thanks be to God for that.  Let's go and discover God in our ordinary lives.

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