I’ve been reading through the Gospel of Luke over the last month and I want to share something that has been highlighted in my heart. It's about an aspect of Jesus’ ministry and how we are to continue His work as we seek His Kingdom here on earth.
Jesus was constantly demolishing social constructs that separated people groups. Whether it was socio-economic status, political positioning, nationality, heritage, or roles within society, Jesus would connect where society demanded separation. As a Jew, His culture outlined an awful lot of spoken and unspoken parameters as to who was “in”.
Jesus came to say, “You are ALL in my group.” #squadgoals
The way Jesus walked straight through cultural barriers is somehow newly inspiring to me today. As I observe His ways in my daily reading in Luke, I’m gathering that acting as a sort of cultural conduit was an important part of His ministry of unity, peace, and love on this earth. And so it should be with His disciples, you and me. I’m seeing that our Creator intended for there to be variety and differences amongst all people and that His love is intended to flow freely in and out of all of the subsets forming one giant Jesus squad. We can see aspects of His character played out in new ways through interacting within different cultures. I LOVE THIS!
The divine treasure I’ve unearthed on this dig is a fresh understanding of this simple truth: what Jesus did, I should do. (Duh, right?) This concept is particularly poignant as I prepare for yet another trip to Kenya. See, that simple truth get’s pretty complicated to live out when I think of how things can go on the ground sometimes. I’ve encountered some sticky social situations as I’ve acted as a cultural bridge over the years. Let me assure you, cultural immersion is the birthplace of crossed wires, miscommunication, assumptions that lead to offense, and all the feelings of being left out, excluded, and alone. All of that erupts when we get lost in self-focus.
I feel like God is putting a spotlight on His unifying nature so that I can be mindful of God’s intention behind variety, diversity, and precious differences as I rely on the Holy Spirit to not just overcome, but demolish those hurdles. Jesus wants us to find beautiful, meaningful connection with people who challenge us, grow us, and shape our perspective. This strikes me as just one way we can work out the Gospel in our lives, letting His Spirit move past human boundaries. As we set our intention on this dauntingly un-self-focused way of being, I think we’ll see a sense of sameness emerge that points us to the cross. He came and died...once for ALL.
God, suit us up and give us the tools to do the demo work of breaking down cultural barriers for the sake of letting your love flow freely through us to all people. Open our hearts and minds to how you show different aspects of your nature to us through others. Help us see all the ways we can be like You and do what You do so that we might be the conduit that can usher Heaven down to earth. Amen.