Monday, December 21, 2009

Gospel truth in plain sight

"I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples." - Jesus

Now that was another great weekend! Lots happening and with so many wonderful people. How great that we can share and enjoy together! The exhausting but fun finale was a party at Maul Hall for a couple of the small groups Rebekah and I are involved with. 24 people, fabulous food, a raucous gift-exchange and then circling up to share some poignant stories.

I don't think there was a single exposed surface in the house that didn't have food on it. But it's interesting; when I'm hosting I find I don't eat all that much myself.

The most remarkable aspect of the evening was the spirit of love and deeply layered joy that pervaded. We all meet on a regular basis to share what's on our hearts, read the scriptures, be mutually encouraging and pray together. We genuinely love one another and there's no better basis for a party that that.

The gift exchange involved just the right amount of stealing, strategy, under the table deals, bribery and hilarity. I think everyone left with a gift they were pleased with. The picture at right shows Steve and JoEllen's reaction to some of the ongoing drama!

The "sharing" instructions were simple. Bring your favorite all time Christmas card - or memory of that card - and tell the story behind it. There were some powerful testimonies to faith, and hope, and belief, and the constant work of grace.

The evening was an example of what a community of faith is supposed to look like: Fun; commitment; love; support; the constant exploration of what it means to believe - and all the questions that go along with it; powerful stories; laughter; tears; generosity; unconditional acceptance...

... The truth is that this Christmas party didn't look much different than any normal Sunday evening with our friends. This is what Jesus invited us to demonstrate to the world. This is what the Gospel message is all about. This is good news in so many ways!

The most compelling invitation Jesus threw out was always the invitation to live. Salvation is something that God is up to, here on earth. We get to participate, and we get to share that life with the world we live in. The good news just keeps getting better.


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