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Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Message of Jesus

This past semester I got to know a first year Westminster student by the name of Art Boulet (wacky mental flash: picture some guy rappelling down the side of a mountain in Shakespearean garb hollering out 'Art Boulet?' to the folks down below. If that image is not instantly hilarious, then never mind, it's not worth trying to explain). Art weighs in today with some great thoughts on the message of Jesus:
The message of Jesus was a message of restoring “shalom” to a world that has gone desperately wrong. “Shalom,” in ancient Judaism, was the ideal in which God created the world to function. It was the ideal of creation being interwoven with each other; God and human beings interacting in perfect harmony; humankind and creation functioning without flaw, without disease, without hatred, without war, without killing, without suffering, without evil.

The message of Christ is a message of peace; he came as the Truth and the Life to restore humanity and creation to the condition in which they should have been functioning all along. Christ did not say, “Follow these rules and you will have life.” Rather, he said, “I am the Life.” Through following Jesus humankind can taste that “shalom” and live in a way that is truly human: the way it was supposed to be.

Somewhere along the line we have seem to forgotten this message. Instead, we have turned the message of peace into a message of divisiveness that furthers the separation and works against the ideal of “shalom.” Christians tend to shun those on the outside, those who have problems, those who need the message of Christ. This has turned the culture away from Christianity because, when you think about it, who wants to hang around a bunch of self-righteous pricks who tell me that I’m always wrong and am going to burn in hell forever?

The message of Christ was not simply a message about “where you are going when you die: heaven or hell?” It was also a message of “how are you going to live your life today and tomorrow and the next day?” There is a freedom in knowing Christ; a liberty to live as part of creation in the manner that is truly human; to relate to people in a way that is free of sin and guilt and self-righteous condemnation; to get a foretaste of what that “shalom” truly is; to love each other, creation, and God in the way that we were always meant to.
Good thoughts, worth reading in full. Thanks Art!

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