So this morning I was reading Psalm 22. Here is what Psalm 22:27-31 says:
27 All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
and he rules over the nations.
29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness
to a people yet unborn—
for he has done it.
This passage made me think about a few things. First it made me think about the Great Commission, then the importance for children to have Christian role models in their lives, and the need for a more ethical pursuit of justice in a culture that doesn’t seem to value life very highly.
The Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) are Jesus’ parting words for his disciples to make the Gospel known to all of humanity. Today, more than ever we are seeing this being done through local churches, evangelistic crusades, Bible translation, and even through the persecution of Christians throughout the world. This world is lost and broken and we need to keep on sharing God’s love to every man, woman, boy, and girl that Jesus is the hope for the world to live an abundant life full of God’s grace today and for eternity. I am reminded of a Hillsong song that I heard in Hong Kong at a missions conference that said “Jesus I believe in you and I will go to the ends of the earth.” As Christians we need to have a broader awareness of the church as the international family of God. Turning to the Lord is the only hope people in this world have to know the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the communion and fellowship of the local church, God’s prophetic witness to the world. We must continue to proclaim Christ as Lord and “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).
My second point, that it is important for children to have Christian role models in their lives comes from the part of the Psalm where it talks about “future generations.” How can future generations know about the Lord if adults don’t take their place as parents and mentors to share and live in the reality of their faith? Just telling kids Bible stories is not enough! We must take our faith to the streets…walk the walk and talk the talk…show God’s love in the everyday things in order for kids to know how important and vital a relationship with their creator is. I believe that it is unfortunate that adults have relegated teaching theology or Bible to “professionals” such as youth pastors and workers. I would encourage families and youth pastors to work together to help each other to learn how to study the Bible together and teach youth in a way that engages their learning styles and service-orientated mindset.
Lastly, but most importantly is engaging the need for a more ethical pursuit of justice in a culture that doesn’t seem to value life very highly by its display of neglect and violence. In December when I met with a mentor we were talking about the Newtown and Clackamas shootings that had happened earlier in the month. Then I spoke with him about going to The Justice Conference. He asked me if they engaged the issue of abortion as a justice issue. In knowing some of the people who are a part of it I would say that there is a consistent desire to be pro-life, but that abortion and other classical evangelical issues aren’t engaged in solely political terms. I would argue that even though abortion is an issue, we must try to be pro-life for all life. This means providing resources for unplanned pregnancies, engaging in the adoption or foster care process more actively, helping people with developmental disabilities get their needed services, serving senior citizens who can’t afford health care or food, seeking alternative means to capital punishment, immigration issues, and doing our best to seek more peaceful resolutions to conflicts through the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. Recently I was reading “The Logic of the Spirit” by James E. Loder and a story he told about the his daughter giving birth surprised me and caught me off guard. I think it describes the tension and lack of thought about the sanctity of life in our culture.
“If my daughter had died giving birth, we would all ask ‘Why?’ but she lived and gave birth to a beautiful girl, so we do not ask why; we are all much too grateful to God that it came out right. However, behind the whys of both the sudden loss of life and the stunning arrival of new life lies the persistent question: Why do we live? Why do we cherish life with such passion? Why, when there is every reason to despair, do we continue to affirm life; and what happens when that affirmation goes sour and the passion to die becomes unstoppable?”
In keeping with a Trinitarian ethic I must begin by affirming the fact that humans are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). Therefore, all life is sacred; from the unborn baby to the hardened criminal. Second, Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn. 14:6). Therefore, we need to share the good news of his truth and life that he offers us when we choose to follow him. I believe that as Christians we must work together for the common good of all people for the purpose and benefits of working out our salvation and sharing what Christ can do in a person’s life to bring renewal and peace. If we act this out by seeking reconciliation, forgiveness, and peace with others who we consider different from us we will be living out God’s will for us as ambassadors for Christ.