WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM LAST FRIDAY?
This past Friday saw thousands of people line up for hours at Apple stores around the world for the release of the next iPhones. Some people waited for hours; I even saw some bloggers flew to Sydney, Australia, so they could get a head start on everyone else!
Now, don't get me wrong, I love my iPhone. Going back to the first one and up to my current one, it is hands-down the most useful piece of technology I've ever had, and it's not even close. However, I'm not sure that I would put the money down to fly halfway around the world just to get an 18-hour jump on those of us in the USA.
On the other hand, looking at the lines in the Apple stores and the enthusiasm on the face of so many as they were among the first in the world to get these phones took me back to a challenge that was put before all of us gathered at the conference Erin, Kathy, and I attended in Franklin, TN...ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT THE GOSPEL AND DO PEOPLE KNOW IT?
Specifically, in recounting Wesley's views on love, we were reminded that,
"If I am filled with love for you then I cannot at the same time destroy you...to be filled with love is to be filled with the same passion that energizes God in his redemptive love for creation...for the one who loves is compelled from within to do whatever it takes on the behalf of others...if God's love drove him on a mission it is only God's love resident in us that will inspire us to join him in that mission..."
Looking back over those words this morning I cannot help but be challenged on personal and professional levels, individually and as part of the body of Christ, the church. Questions that come to mind as I hold together these two images - people lining up for hours for a phone and the question of passion for the gospel and people knowing it include:
To what lengths am I/are we willing to go to share the love that God has put in us through Christ?
Am I/are we really passionate about God's life-giving work through Christ that points me/us to hope, peace, joy, and love?
Do my/our thoughts, words, and deeds profess that love to others?
Am I/are we allowing God to fill us completely with divine love so that I/we cannot at the same time destroy others?
Has the love of God through Christ truly permeated every fiber of my/our being? (Or, are we truly inviting and allowing God's love through Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit to dwell completely within us and, just as importantly, through us?)
Does God's love resident in me/us to join in God's mission of reconciliation and redemption to all the world?
The speaker we heard boiled it down to two words - infusion and profusion. In other words:
Are we allowing ourselves to be INFUSED with God's love manifest in Christ and sustained by the Holy Spirit?
Are we of the mindset that what we do will PROFUSE this love in and through all that we meet?
Taking a look at the pictures and reports of the latest iPhone release, it is obvious that many, many people were super-stoked about a device that fits in a pocket that allows you to connect with pretty much anyone around the world at any time through more than a few ways. This device will give you access to all human knowledge that is available. Smartphones allow us to do more things than any generation before us, and, yes, it is pretty cool. I don't blame these people for being excited about the new phone.
What I am left with though, is something that I want to invite you to join me in considering on this Wednesday morning:
Given that through Christ, God has offered us complete reconciliation and redemption, a future of hope, not despair, joy, not discouragement, unconditional love and acceptance because we were made out of God's love,
ARE WE AS PASSIONATE ABOUT GOD'S LOVE FOR US AND FOR EVERYONE ELSE THAT PEOPLE ARE FOR SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS A NEW PHONE?
DO WE LET OTHERS KNOW IN WHAT WE SAY AND HOW WE LIVE THAT WE ARE PASSIONATE FOR THEM TO BE ENVELOPED BY THIS LOVE?
I cannot nor dare not attempt to speak for anyone else, but I know that for me, when I quit asking myself this question, then I am in trouble. Maybe not immediately, but long term, and I believe it is the same for any church as well as the church universal.
One of the greatest gifts we have been given is the gift of the church, for it is when we integrate our lives with others who either have or are seeking the assurance of God's love that we will be better able to not only be INFUSED with God's love, but PROFUSE that love to others, within AND beyond.
So - let's go love. Let's love passionately because we have been loved passionately!
Grace and Peace, Lamar