This Advent we are looking at the Christmas story through the lens of the Mission of God. So, this last Sunday we got to walk through parts of Isaiah asking, “What will this Kingdom God is bringing thru Jesus look like?” We want to know, if God is about the rescue and renewal of the world, what will that encompass? And more, what’s OUR part in the story?
Words like peace, justice, fairness, wholeness and flourishing (shalom)… This is what we are promised God is bringing about even now- starting with the Resurrection of Jesus and culminating when He finally sets all things right. “The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s armies will accomplish this,” Isaiah promises us.
In thinking thru our part, we used the illustration of some of our children, who see certain things not as an “I have to”, but as an “I get to.” My kids love to help momma make cookies- they dig their hands deep into the dough, mix the ingredients, get covered in flour and goo along the way. Would it be easier and quicker for momma just to make the cookies herself? Sure- but think about what would be lost along the way.
Or my co-pastor Dustin- His son Gram loves to follow behind daddy as he mows the lawn. Gram even has his own little lawn mower that he pushes. It’s a beautiful picture of learning. Of discipleship. It would be easier and faster for Dustin to just get out there and power through the yardwork. But think about what would be lost…
Last Sunday night our community had a prayer gathering. We thanked God for our shared life together and prayed for wisdom and discernment for the next season. And we prayed for Jeremy who is battling a rare form of cancer.
And I got to see something that did my heart good. I got to see my 7 year old son Jack and his friend Ben join the circle of people laying hands on Jeremy and praying for God’s intervention. Jack even prayed aloud asking God to do the miraculous and heal.
My son is learning to pray and so to care by doing, right alongside and behind those in our community, including mom and dad.
Could God simply set the world right, right now? Yes, He could. But some very important things would be lost along the way.
God loves fairness and justice, and He loves peace. He loves it when what is broken is made whole.
And He wants us to love it too. He wants us to love peace so much that we start praying for it and working hard for it- laying aside petty grievances (whether in families or between nations) and start loving each other more than we love being in the right. He wants us to love fairness and justice so much that we will actually do something about it.
God is not waiting for us to bring the Kingdom. That’s something only HE can do. But as He moves slowly (at least by our reckoning), He does so not without reason. And the reason is nothing less than an invitation to you and me to dig our hands in and join Him. To walk in His footsteps and learn the unhurried rhythms of grace. He doesn’t need our help.
But how amazing is it that we get to help?