Monday, April 16, 2007

A day in the life ...

You know, yesterday I was praying (well, I was chatting it up with God) about the incredible pain in the world and the fact that so many of his children choose the way of pain and suffering for no good reason.

I've been preparing a lesson on holiness. To be 'set apart', to be different from the crowd. John Wesley set the goal before us of sanctification - perfection. Some of the things that signify a 'sanctified' person: "no mixture of any contrary affections; all is peace and harmony. After being filled with love, there is no more interruption of it than of the beating of the heart."

Some of the things that signify one who is far from Christian perfection / holiness / sanctification: (from Wesley)

"All his holiness is mixed. He was humble, but not entirely; his humility was mixed with pride; he was meek, but his meekness was frequently interrupted by anger, or some uneasy or turbulent passion. His love of God was frequently damped by the love of some creature; the love o fhis neighbor by evil surmising, or some thought, if not temper, contrary to love. His will was not wholly melted down into the will of God: now and then nature rebelled, and he could not clearly say, 'Lord, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.'"

This stuff really hit home today as I listened to the events unfolding at Virginia Tech. The shooter is one more individual that we as Christians failed to reach. We are so concerned with social justice and legislating morality. We are so worried about what people think of us and our families and our children. We spend so much time wrapped up in the pettiness of what a worship service looks like or how many dollars were spent on new choir robes or candles. All of these things help us avoid looking the world's true needs. We aren't telling people about the love of Jesus Christ.

This love is the one thing that can sanctify each human being. Pure, sacrificial love. A love that God sent down from heaven to rescue each of us. We are so self-centered and afraid - that we forget the purpose of living a Christian life - to perpetuate that life in others.

We lost one today. And from that loss, families of 32 others are feeling extreme pain and sorrow. If you believe that you are called by God to be more than a blip on the timeline of eternity, you have to believe that your pursuit of holiness leads you to share this love of Jesus with others. We can't hide it anymore! We can't be afraid that people will laugh at us or that they will quit talking to us.

Are you set apart? Is there nothing but love for God in your heart? I would love for you to be able to say this is true, but I know better. I live the same way as you do. I'm a terrible sinner and I fail at being a good transmitter of God's love. Even when I think that I'm doing well, I know that I'm failing.

Today, as you pray for the families and friends of those lost at Virginia Tech, please remember that you have a responsibility to the world as well. It might be that as you intercede in someone's life, you can save that life and be assured of their salvation. Don't let that pass you by!


Rebecca said...

I wish my existance was so in tune that it did not require tragedy to push me into action... I wish I were the type of person that acted on "promptings" promptly.. but instead... I wait till moments like these to follow through with things God has urged me to do for months... to reach out to people God has laid on my heart long before this tragedy... I hope one day it won't take a gunshot to move me to obey!!!
And just so you know today and every day...
I love you!

Craig Finnestad said...

Well stated post. The social side of Wesley seems to be emphasized in many Methodist circles -- Wesley certainly did have a passion for orphans, hungry people, prisoners, and the marginalized. But, a huge danger exists in downplaying Wesley's Evangelical zeal. He was often quoted in saying: "We have nothing to do but save souls."