What if Christ died so He could rise again? Duh. I know that sounds pretty obvious, but there is one more part of it that’s connected to yesterday’s “What if?” and that is the thought that we are all connected to each other and to Christ, so that when Christ died, we died. Well then, it stands to reason that if we all died with Him, we shall also rise with Him. Which is exactly the plan.
What if in the interweaving, each of our lives is defined by and interwoven into one another’s lives?
You’ve heard stories of a mother feeling like someone just kicked her in the gut, when, unbeknownst to her, and halfway around the world, one of her children has just died. Or a man or woman on a business trip suddenly sits up in bed out of a sound sleep in the stone cold middle of the night and knows something is wrong with their loved one at home. You could say this is the Holy Spirit waking them up to pray, but this happens to believers and unbelievers alike.
What if God is a lot bigger than we ever thought, and by that I mean deeper and wider and all-encompassing and all-connected? What if God is virtually everywhere, not just hovering over things, and closer than we ever imagined? What if God is so intimately connected with us that He is the matrix that is holding everything together? What if that’s what Paul meant when he wrote: “He is before all things, and in him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17). What if God is the missing part of everything? What if when Paul writes that there is “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all,” he actually means that He is over all and through all and in all?
It’s Easter week. We’re going to do something a little different. We’re going to call this “What if?” week. We’re going to ask questions about things we already assume are true — and some we may not have even thought of before — and look at them again in fresh light. Often we don’t really think through enough what we believe. Is faith like that? Do you just believe a certain number of important things and then go on your way with that thing settled? Or are you constantly being stretched by the ramifications of what you believe? Is it a sign of lack of faith to ever wonder about some of the obvious things? Don’t we have to keep thinking it through? Don’t we have to keep on asking questions? Is that okay? Is that healthy?
But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. (Ephesians 5:13)
People are becoming more and more invisible. Advances in the access and use of the Internet are most likely responsible for this. More and more we are communicating with friends and strangers from a vantage point of invisibility. We send emails and texts from a safe distance where no one can see us. This can be both good and bad. Bad, because we can fool people more easily if they can’t see us, but good, because the anonymity gives us a certain protection with which we can divulge what we might not tell even our closest friend. In other words, in what sounds like a contradiction in terms, invisibility can make you more visible.
The Catch has a friend; his name is Alex, and he is 25 years old. That makes him an official millennial. We consult with him about the Internet, and he teaches us a lot about his generation.
First off, he is brilliant. He understands and speaks three languages (English, Chinese and Spanish) fluently. He may have more languages under his belt; we’ve just never asked. His mind is constantly traveling at a high rate of speed and he is very culturally and politically conscious. He considers himself a left-wing Republican. (That sounds refreshing.) He’s seriously thinking about running for office, starting with governor of California someday, and he would do that not to be popular or famous, but because he cares about this country and the world, and feels he can make a contribution. We don’t doubt that he could. He works with his father in Internet security, which means he understands hackers because he understands how to hack. He was aware of the Russians’ propensity to hack our systems long before we ever heard about it. His mind is wired to the Internet in a way mine will never be, because he was born into this cyber world and he moves in it fluidly.
We need to be smarter about our witness in the world.
Taking a cultural stand in society today and linking it with our Christian faith may not be the best thing to do. It can make us look like supporters of a static faith, one that wants to go backward rather than forward; a faith that longs for the bygone days when “this-far-and-no-farther” ultimatums meant something. It looks like a memorized faith rather than an internalized one. It’s hit and run Christianity — all words and separation. It’s not the words that are needed as much as the touchable, everyday expressions of the gospel that come through human hands, heart and conversation. We need to be connecting with our world, not separating from it. We need to build bridges to our culture, not create fault lines.
Live out your years in humble fear
Love the Lord
As innocent children you’ll appear
Like a mysterious light
In the darkest of night
We’re going to spend one more day with these words and with the words following that I hope you are adopting as a directive for your life right now. This is who we are as members of the Catch. This is what it looks like with our boots on the ground. This is a reminder — something we need to refer to often.
Love, empathize, build bridges, lift up (not tear down), create respect for all, resist the temptation to find fault even when you’re among people who all agree, choose not to take part in criminalizing anyone, speak well of people who are not in your presence, give everyone a second chance — then a third, and a fourth — up to 7 X 70 (Matthew 18:22) in fact, be a catalyst, a peacemaker, a healer. Stand in the gap; resist taking sides. Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Live like this, and you will make a difference — better yet, you will be the difference.