Sorry i have not written in a while, i've had a lot of things on my mind that have not allowed me to adequately read and transfer the info i have been sharing on Violas book. and i still have not read the next chapter, so im taking a break at least for one post.
I recently returned from a weekend retreat for our church community. A lot of really great things occurred there, and it was very rejuvenating. One thing i bring back from that experience is a renewed sense of what it means to have salvation, to be the church, to be the community of God. All day Saturday we explored this theme by doing an in depth Bible study of the first four books of Genesis and some of Ephesians. This is ONE thing i got....
There is NO such thing as Personal Salvation. Salvation is a word to describe the chance to live a communal life, with God and others.
Let me explain further. Before the foundations of the earth were laid there lived one God, in three persons. These three persons lived in absolute harmony with one another, and do to this day. We will call These three persons in one, the Triune God, or Yahweh. Yahweh lived in absolute community, in oneness with the three persons within. (I hope this doesnt sound too weird, if it does, dont worry about it) So Yahwehs plan for the earth was to open this this community if you will, to man. This is where Adam comes into the pictures. As it says in Genesis, Adam walked and talked, and was one with God. Still though, God saw that Adam should not be alone, and thats where the animals and Eve came into play.
Adam and Eve were two persons, but one together. They had absolute trust, community and love for each other. And they were one with God. They lived in true peace. Not peace that the world offers that looks more like the mere absence of conflict. But of course, sin came and all the negative outcomes. The main point being that communion with each other and with the Triune God was broken. Finger pointing and distrust came, and created a downward spiral until finally mankind was killing each other out of jealousy and rage. IT got pretty ugly. Though this is not what God had in mind for humanity, he was not about to give up.
God had a plan, a vision for humanity that meant returning to true community with each other. true peace. true harmony. Oneness with others and with God. I wont go through the entire Old Testament, but suffice it to say that starting with Abraham's calling to leave the land called Ur, God was working and preparing to renew the life that we once had. I (and others) call it the "life-together" life. Life with God, life with others. All of us as One. And this is where Jesus, the messiah, comes into play.
Jesus came to show us the way back. He showed us THE WAY TO LIVE. And he came to reverse the consequences of sin, which is, in a phrase, broken relationships. Again, with God and with others. Jesus' death upon the cross, not only showed us what it means to sacrifice and lay down your life for another, but it also broke the hold that sin can have in our lives. Jesus' work in his life and upon the cross therefore, gives us the ability to be one with God and others. To be in community with God and others. Salvation is living a "life-together" life. There is no such thing as personal salvation, because salvation has not come to you, it has come to us. Salvation is for Everyone, as a unit, rather than everyone individually.
Those who take up this new life of community experience salvation! This is the Gospel! The good news! That is, once we were alienated from God and others due to our sin. But through Jesus we are given the chance to no longer have sin as a deterrent in our relationships. We can live the way God intended for humanity, and still does....in absolute community and harmony with those around us.
Salvation is not...Jesus died on the cross and now we can retire from our lives and go to heaven. FAR FROM IT!!! Salvation is that we are FREE to live as ONE with others, WITH God. now let us find out what that means. I can say one thing. Salvation, the Gospel, it looks a lot like community. It looks a lot like unconditional love. Love without conditions. Life with you.
One of the speakers kept referring to Jerry McGuire's now cheesy phrase, "You complete Me." And that just it. We are incomplete with out each other and without God. But when we are made one with each other, we become complete.
this life together will not always look pretty, and it will not always be without conflict. It will look a lot like a man and a woman who choose to share all their things in common and live together in a house. It may get ugly at times, but they remain committed through thick and thin. They are committed to figuring out how to live life together. And this is a beautiful picture of our life together in this thing we call Church, The community of Gods people. Salvation has come to US. We are free to live at peace with our brothers and sisters. We are free to share all things in common.