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Posts Tagged ‘subversive’

We are a collection of people, an assembly who gather to listen and to respond to words from God.  Yet, most of our time is spent in a world full of non-gatherers, people who believe differently.  Some of them are sympathetic to what we’ve been doing and what we’ve been talking about; others find us to be strange, irrational, and even foolish for what we’ve been up to.

A casual glance at us among those who think and believe differently does not reveal much.  We shop the same markets and wear similar clothes.  We read and write the same languages.  We eat the same foods and drive the same cars.  We attend the same schools and receive the same medical treatment.  We experience the same weather and have the same health problems.  We cheer for the same teams and vote for the same politicians.

We participate in similar everyday activities but we are part of a covert operation.  We are looking for different signs.  We are listening for a different voice.  Like Joshua and Caleb, our opinion is in the minority.  We are saying things that no one else is saying.  Bringing news that no one else is telling.  We claim hope that others do not.  In fact, we strongly disagree with the majority opinion.

We look the part with our clothes from the mall and our modern transportation.  Yet, the fact is, we are aliens.  Our allegiance lies elsewhere.  We are guilty of treason.  We live a double existence.  Like exiles in Babylon, we work to maintain our identity in a land that tries to convince us that things are ok as they are.  That this world is all there is and there is nothing outside of these borders.

In exile, it is possible to forget the mission.  We spend so much time being saturated with this world that we adopt its habits and customs.  We can forget what we are about.  There is the temptation to defect.  Here in exile, we must maintain our double existence.  This requires everything we’ve got.  We must be vigilant.

We gather to retell old stories and drink our wine and eat our bread.  We are sent out with instructions to become as children, wash the feet of others, forgive as many as four hundred and ninety times, put our weakness on display, turn the other cheek, to love our enemies.  We are participating in a mustard seed conspiracy.  This is not the way that people expect kingdoms to come.

Yet, we are the evidence of this Kingdom.  We enter as agents of the King and reflect His character and strategies.  This is war and we are part of it.  C. S. Lewis speaks for us when he says “we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel.  Enemy-occupied territory – that is what this world is.  Christianity is the story of how the rightful King has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.”  We are sent into enemy occupied territory looking for places where God is at work and joining Him there.  To borrow a phrase from John Piper “prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie.”  For us, prayer is a tool in our arsenal of sabotage.  How can we blame the powers that be for wanting to remove it from the public sector?

We will be outnumbered.  Our methods will be unpopular.  We will be misunderstood.  But we must stick to our covert ways.  We walk the streets as people involved with business, as technicians, as people with trades, as retail operators, as educators, as medical personnel, as executives and assistants.  Yet, these things are cover for our other work.  We are agents of another Kingdom.  Others may not take us seriously.  They still have confidence in the empire that appears to have all the goodies, the power, and the answers.

We know that this way of life is temporary.  We do not have confidence in the strategies of this world.  Neither our best science nor our best social programs can fix it.  The established systems and the old certainties are no longer certain.  Yet, we have a great hope.  We believe that another Kingdom is in play and we are called to utilize the strategies of this Kingdom.  A Kingdom that takes shape in out of the way places, in unexpected ways, and through unexpected people.  Like an unexpected collection of people who may appear strange as they take the ways and words of their King seriously.

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