WDJD and Confirmation Class

For a little while now, our Sunday School class (is it just me or does there have to be a better name!) has been asking the question 'What does God care about?' This mornings class, Fr Dwight had WDJD -- What Did Jesus Do? -- on the board. In the past, we looked at what God had said through the prophets about what was important and this morning we turned to Jesus to see, not what he said, but what he did and how that lined up with what we read in the Old Testament. We started in Matthew 8.1 and we every section seemed to be about rebuilding community. From the various healings he did to the calming of the sea to the deliverance of people 'possessed be demons'. In each case, the 'symptom' was like a picture of what was going on in the world around him. It seemed like people couldn't do and be what they were longing to do and be because of their being separated from the community. And this is exactly what we were seeing in the prophecies of the Old Testament. In other words, what God seems to be concerned about, what God cares about, is restoring creation, including people.

You see, since the 'fall' all of creation has been out of joint. Sin and death now scar the 'very good' creation. And God is all about 'redeeming' creation -- of putting it back on track, of bringing justice and peace to the cosmos. For too long, we in the West have coluded with death as the way things 'just are'. But we see in Genesis that it wasn't always supposed to be that way. We see that because of people 'grasping' for their own gain, all of creation was set at odds -- people are at odds with each other (even with families) and the rest of the created order. And since that time, God has been 'at work' at reconciling all of creation (and if you haven't guessed it, I am including people when I state 'all creation'). And this is the cool part, he has been at work from within his creation. God started with Noah, then Abraham, then the entire nation of Israel to put the world to rights. But again and again, Israel kept messing it up; proving that God would have to (somehow) come into creation to fix the problem. This wasn't a surprise. He told Israel over and over again that he would do this. And then we come to Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus believed -- he knew -- that he had to do and be what the prophets said that God had to do and be. He understood that through him, through his life and ministry, God's 'New Creation Project' was taking place. The problem was that it did not look like what the people were expecting or wanting.

And that is exactly what we read about in the canonical Gospels. Jesus is actually doing what God cares about! He is giving sight to the blind (so they can be a restored part of the community ), he is making the lame walk (so they can be a restored part of the community), he is feeding the hungry (so they can be a restored part of the community), etc. Every thing we read about Jesus of Nazareth was about doing what God, the creator God, YHWH, cares about. And here is the point that Fr Dwight is driving, the point the Bible is driving -- if we are people within this community, if we have a right standing within the community, we too are supposed to be doing those things!

In the Gospel of John, that is, John's personal eye-witness testimony of the life of Jesus, he wrote that Jesus was the Word of YHWH made flesh. And then in the end of his Gospel, Jesus tell us, that is, again, his followers who are in right standing within the community, are supposed to be his word made flesh. We are to be Jesus to the world. We have been giving the ministery, the vocation, of reconcilation. We are to go out to where the world is in pain and help restore them back into community with God, with each other, and the whole cosmos. Allelujah!

This afternoon, I started the next part of my journey. As you may remember, I have answered the call of ministry. And the first step is to be confirmed within the Episcopal church. Well, today was the first Confirmation class. It was just an introduction really. There was some great testimony of how God has brought us to St John's. It is amazing to me that if you live in Oklahoma, you have at one time in your spiritual life been apart of the Baptist Church. I suppose that this is the most available Christian Church. I think everyone there (and there was about 10-12 of us) had at sometime been apart of the Baptist Church. I found that interesting.

Next we talked very briefly about what we will be discussing in the next eight weeks. We also were given a couple of books (one was actually a pamphlet) to read over. We were also encouraged to purchase our own copy of the Book of Common Prayers since we would be using it a lot.

One of the things said, in fact, it was part of the opening prayer, was 'Ask questions . . . and maybe we will find answers'. I love that! It establishes that there is mystery in this community with God. That there is mystery about being a part of God's family. I can't wait for this journey to continue.

Until next time . . .

May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.

+OD

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