what we miss about redepmtion

While we all know in our heads death is terrible. I struggle to think of any instance where we truly rejoice. But we approach it from a strange place in church.

It’s our vehicle the ultimate prize. It’s the goal line. We’ve run the race and are ready for our reward.

So despite its purely destructive nature, we take a strange approach to death. We see the redemption that Jesus has brought to and through death and it’s now just not so bad.

This redemptive nature of Jesus is so powerful it must be acknowledged and celebrated. It must be trumped and exclaimed for everyone to hear. It’s the power of the gospel. Jesus has come to redeem everything.

But that redemption is a process. It’s not a static action. It’s not that everything that has occurred and will occur has been redeemed. It can be, but may not be yet.

And it’s this temporal nature of redemption that I think leads to a lot of pain.

Pain when we say “don’t worry its God’s plan”

Pain when we say “God’s in control”

Pain when we see the possibility for redemption and speak as though it’s already happened.

The pain is real.

The loss is real.

The devastation is real.

When we speak as though redemption has happened we speak as though the pain, loss or devastation isn’t real. We speak as though we should no longer feel the pain, loss or devastation. We speak as though life will continue in the same way it always had.

These aren’t scars of a past memory but open wounds that need tending and caring.

I think we miss this as a church body. We miss this by a long shot.

Tending to those wounds requires proximity. We have to be in the mess with them. We have to see the damage. We can’t skip over it. We have to call it what it is and address the reality of it. We have to see the fullness of the damage to have a prayer of mending it.

We take part in the long, sometimes agonizing healing process. We are part of the search and journey of redemption, which is often only seen when we reflect back.

Even if we’re told its coming we don’t often see redemption as it’s happening. We can’t understand it until we’re in it look at back at it.

We dream and hope and desire for it.

I have experienced few things as hurtful and damaging as someone talking like my pain and struggle has already been redeemed. Few things as painful as someone taking from me the option to grieve and process. Doing everything they can to support but in reality doing everything possible to invalidate and minimize the depth and impact of the experience I was living.

And none of it was experienced as love.

redemption

Last week’s posts have been more out there than most of my stuff. Not a ton of practical stuff, more ideas. I think this will be the last one. We talked about what holds us back in the past but I thought it was such an appropriate time to talk about why we try to live the way we do.

This is about what I think the one of the biggest meanings of Easter is and more than that what the cross was about. Surprise, surprise I think it ties directly to compassion.

I suspect that if you’ve been involved with church for any period of time, you’ve heard a lot about why Jesus died.

He died for you and for me. He died so you could be saved from your sins. He died so you could avoid hell and live in heaven.

While perhaps not wrong this way of seeing Easter misses the true breadth of what happened.

I think it’s soooo much bigger than just you or just me.

I think the real purpose of it all is Jesus calling us into His holistic redemption.  We are now able to be a part of the redemption of EVERYTHING.

The message of the cross is redemption for everything and everyone and we get to be a part of it.

That’s why we get to share God’s love and grace in everything we do. That’s why we get to dive into the messiness of people’s lives. That’s why we get to open our lives to others, darkness and all.

Because we are a part of the redemption of everything. We don’t have to do these things, we get to.

Jesus didn’t come to save you from hell. Jesus came so you can be a part of Him redeeming everything.

If you don’t think that’s compassion then I feel like you and I are talking about two very different things.

imagine there is no heaven

I was thinking about what to write about this week leading up to Easter. Pondering how Easter and compassion connect. What does Jesus’ death have to do with compassion?

To me the two have  to be linked. There must be really important connections.

Imagine there is no heaven

Easter is coming up this weekend and it got me thinking about heaven, salvation and what that all means to us right now.

So often our Christian walk is about the end. Getting to heaven and maybe even more than that, avoiding hell.

But what if it all wasn’t there.

Imagine there is no heaven, at least not like we’ve been taught.

Imagine there were no pearly gates and no streets of gold. Heaven is not a place we can go.

Imagine the only heave we can ever see is right here on earth.

It’s in the lives we live right now.

Would that change the way you live? Would that affect every aspect of your life?

Would you strive after it the way you long and desire for the eternal heaven? What would you do if the only way you could ever experience heave was to do so on earth?

If the only way was for you bring heaven into your life right now by sharing God’s love and grace. Would you not make that a focus?

We so often look to the end and wait for heaven to come. We almost consider this life a trial we have to pass to get to God and in doing so we miss so much of why Jesus came and what His life and His call on us is about.

For me, I think that a life of compassion is the relentless pursuit of heaven in every moment of our lives. It’s not the pursuit of some end goal but the attempt to see heave in everything we do. It’s the attempt to share as much love and grace with the people we come in contact with so that when we’re with them they get to see and experience who God is and what heaven will be like.

This is the life God made us for. This is life to the fullest. This is about dragging heaven into the present and sharing the redemption of Easter with every moment.

The redemption that allows for faults and brokenness. The redemption that uses our darkness to share light. The redemption that says you are loved and wonderful as you are right now.

Do we live compassionate lives for us to avoid hell or because we’ve learned that this is what we were made to do and are so driven to share our revelation of love with others?

Honestly, why do you do it?

Or maybe better put why don’t you? Is it because heaven is out there and all you need to do is wait for this mess to end?

Heaven is here to be shared today, in every moment. It’s there for us to see and be a part of sharing with every relationship we have.

Isn’t that the Easter story? Redemption came to us and is here today, heaven is here today.

You make a choice every day in every relationship. Do you want to bring heaven or do you choose to bring hell?