As I look back on my life, I see a cycle.
I have God in this box.
God busts out of the box.
My perspective and life are transformed a bit.
I get comfortable with the transformation.
I start to embrace the transformation.
I then begin to fit God into another box.
Boom! God busts out of the new box that I’ve created.
While we were in South Africa, I had the opportunity to share one evening with Urban Saints on the topic of the crucifixion and the resurrection. As I wrestled with what to share, my “in the box” answers went swirling around in my head:
I thought of the many depictions I’ve seen over the years (some better than others) about sins being forgiven and the many sermons on the proof of Jesus’ deity in the resurrection. I wondered, “Is this what I should share?” and I simply could not.
It’s not that I don’t believe these things (maybe not exactly how they are worded) - I believe in the forgiveness of sins and I believe in the resurrection of Jesus and I believe in following his example of sacrificial love and I believe in the complete transformation of a life lived here on earth and I believe in the hope of eternal life with God and I believe in “carrying our cross” daily and I believe...
It’s just not what I was hearing and it’s not what I think was wanting to be heard.
So as I was listening to the words in this song it hit me, this God of whom I get to speak, this Jesus that I get to introduce to some of my friends for possibly the very first time, does not fit into nice and neat answers (even some of the most central teachings of Christianity), and he certainly isn’t one to introduce based on what he will do for my friends. His life, his teachings, his actions, his birth, the way he walked, the way he talked - that’s the way I want to introduce him - and so, the crucifixion and the resurrection were not so much focused on what they meant for life and for eternity - what Jesus did for all of creation - but rather, what they say about God - this out of the box, not needing a temple or building or book, in the streets and prisons, with the lowly and poor and humble, loving and healing and creating, constantly-on-a-journey God.
The crucifixion and the resurrection shout, “You can’t contain me!”
If I hadn’t been working for Amor Ministries, and I hadn’t been in South Africa, and I hadn’t been with the people that I was with, and I hadn’t been sharing on this topic, and I hadn’t been working alongside many people to build four houses, I may have never seen this truth: this is what we get to do as Amor.
This is the God that we get to share, this is the Jesus that we get to introduce, and rather than focus our attention on the destination, we offer an invitation to a new journey - a journey of sacrificial love, doing what is right, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.