Monday, November 23, 2009

Signs and Wonders

At our gathering yesterday morning, one of our number told of buying supplies for a local homeless shelter and the way God moved others in the store, including an outside delivery man, to help her find what she needed to buy. Some of them then helped her load the supplies in her car. Our teacher made the statement that maybe the signs and wonders that accompany the Gospel today are the acts of mercy and kindness that we do for those around us, especially those in need.

I think he is on to something. In the early day of the Church, the signs and wonders that authenticated the message that Jesus is Lord included healings and other miracles, and speaking in other languages. In a world where medicine was primitive, and many health problems that we never experience were fairly common, healing a person was a pretty big deal. The gift of speaking in tongues was many times , in a world without many translators, the only way the Gospel could be communicated. Some of these same things accompany the Gospel in developing nations where conditions are not that far removed from those of the 1st Century.

In 21st Century America, medicine has advanced so that most of the problems found in the early days of the Church have been eliminated. God does miraculously heal, but it is not so widespread as to be seen as a sign authenticating the Gospel. Language is not usually a problem, as there are a variety of ways to communicate and be understood.

I believe that the signs that should accompany the message that Jesus is Lord are the things that stand out as being outside the norm. I'm not talking about carrying a big KJV Bible, or shutting ourselves up in a "Christian" bubble and separating ourselves from those around us. I'm talking about showing that the One that we follow calls us to own him as our Lord, not any person, government, political party, or other organization. Because Jesus is our Master, we do what he says. One of his commands is to love our neighbors, and take care of the least of these. Giving to the poor and doing what we can to meet their needs shows that we take seriously the commands of the One we proclaim as Lord. In a culture that teaches us to look out for ourselves, often at the expense of others, caring for others marks us out as being different.

Jesus said that the world would know that we are his disciples by our love. If we don't love each other and love those around us how can we expect the world to take us seriously? If we don't treat the "least of these" as we would treat Jesus, what business do we have claiming that Jesus is our Master? As our faith is marginalized more and more by the culture, the only thing we will have left to authenticate our message is the willingness to lay down our lives for Jesus and others. God help us to live the Gospel that we claim has changed our lives.

1 comment:

Kansas Bob said...

"God help us to live the Gospel that we claim has changed our lives."

Amen

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