Monday, May 21, 2018

Rapt By Love

Two days later, the world cannot stop talking about an American preacher who stole the show at a British royal wedding, delivering a powerful, passionate sermon on the awesome power of love - drawing together the voices of Jesus, John, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., American evangelicalism and British monarchy. The world listened as he preached not only about what love is, but about what love does and how it marks us by its fire. 

But the world's fascination with this sermon should not surprise us. After all, the world already loves love. On Saturday, it heard all its greatest hopes and dreams about love spoken out loud, and it nodded its head in agreement. Yes! This is what we believe love is!

Now, if you have a Christian faith, you used it quite naturally to fill in the sermon. You used it to round out what the preacher was actually saying. You used it to know that this love is only possible through the God who is Love, who makes such love both powerful and possible. You heard some other voices come alongside Jesus, but you knew that His - through John - was center-stage. 

Would you believe me if I told you that not everyone heard that sermon? Not even everyone who was listening heard that sermon. 

Those without a background in the Christian faith, without a living, breathing, active relationship with Christ, listened to that sermon, got lost in the language of love, and would unreservedly declare that the greatest teacher present in that sermon...was the pastor who preached it. 

That's because they heard all the things that they love about love through a myriad of unprotestable voices. They heard these things through the voices of culture - through philosophers and writers and artists and civil rights leaders and, oh yeah, some guy named Jesus, who was also a pretty good teacher, and some book that only weird persons believe in. But they're willing to push aside that last bit for the sake of love. 

Ah, love. 

This is the challenge for modern Christianity. This is the barrier that we're up against. This preacher came out onto one of the biggest stages in all of the western world and gave an amazing sermon about the power and person of Love, through all the voices that the world is listening to and the One that it needs to hear, and two days later...the world can't stop talking about love.

But they're not talking about Jesus. 

They're even talking about slavery and freedom, with the voice of Dr. King so powerfully among those spoken on Saturday morning. 

But they're not talking about Jesus.

They're talking about pastors and sermons and Americans and Brits. 

But they're not talking about Jesus.

Do you realize what would happen if we could figure out a way to bridge this gap for the world? If we could figure out how to get them to hear less of their human figures and more of His holy Love? Do you realize that the world already loves what we, as Christians, have, but they wouldn't recognize Him if He was standing right in front of them?

We know this because He is...and they don't. 

Our challenge as Christians is not to get the world on board with our teachings. They actually already like our teachings; the truth that we know answers a deep ache in the human soul that cannot be ignored. We saw that on Saturday. This world already loves love. But we have to introduce them to Him. 

We have to make the things that we say and do so unmistakably about Jesus, so undeniably about God, that two days later, He's all the world can talk about. Two days later, our churches ought to be filling up with those that, maybe for the first time, say, "This is where I find love like that?" And we ought to be able to say yes. Resoundingly, yes. Two days later, the world ought to remember what an incredible story they heard about God. Two days later, they ought to know that the greatest teacher that day was not the preacher. It was the Teacher Himself, who, some two thousand years ago, preached the greatest sermon on love we've ever heard.

Then went to the Cross and showed us what it looks like. 

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