Tag Archives: The Jesus Way

Life after Easter

“So. Jesus the Way, the ways of Jesus. He shows the way. He also is the way. He doesn’t point out the way and then step aside and let us get there our own as best we can. Jesus points out the way, but then he takes the initiative, inviting us to go with him, taking us with him across land and sea, through all kinds of weather, avoiding dead ends and seductive byways, watching out for danger and alerting us to enemies.”

| Eugene H. Peterson, The Jesus Way: a conversation on the ways that Jesus is the way

Where do we go now? We’ve reached the end of the story for Jesus. He died, was buried and has been resurrected. It’s the end of the road for his disciples, right? We can go home too.

Jesus’s resurrection is the high point of our liturgy. “Christ is risen; he is risen indeed.” Our work here is done, yes? No and not so fast.

We still have a long way to go. “Thy kingdom come.” There are also some changes that still need to take place. “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

After the resurrection, we are commissioned with the disciples. Jesus says to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28.18-20, NRSV). Jesus tells the disciples to get moving. His work is finished but ours has only begun.

Hands extended on a cross are now shooing us out the door. “Go out into the world and talk to strangers. Spread out and spread the word. Make students of my teachings,” Jesus says.

He adds, “And you have all that you need: God above you, the Holy Spirit within you and me walking with you every step of the way. And don’t you worry; I’m never leaving you again.” We will not lose him again; we will not come this way, pass by his tomb in sorrow again.

The worst is behind us and the kingdom of God is before us. Life after Easter looks like that of the early Church as recorded in the book of Acts. As the wind of the Holy Spirit blows, we, like Peter, John and the other disciples, walk in the authority of Jesus’s name. Preaching, teaching, baptizing, serving, our hands are extended. Jesus is and likewise, we are just getting started.

Race is not the way

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“Once we start paying attention to Jesus’ way, it doesn’t take long for us to realize that following Jesus is radically different from following anyone else.”

| Eugene Peterson, The Jesus Way

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “The most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.”  We repeat his words as a matter of fact, not as a challenge.  It has been named and noted.  But, rather than shake our heads in agreement, I ask, “What are you going to do about it?”

Don’t just change seats; switch churches.  Get up and follow Jesus somewhere outside of your comfort zone, gated community, tradition, perspective, cultural and personal experience, worship style.  Jesus did it and if we are following Jesus, we should too.  Don’t spend your whole life pointing out the problem.  Don’t just shake your heads; put your heads together.  Figure it out.  Solve it.

Because Jesus doesn’t go the same way everyday, talk to the same people all the time or travel in the same neat circles.  There is nothing routine or traditional about his ministry or his message.  Jesus was not the expected Messiah, the predictable Savior.  Persons did not point to him and say, “I knew it was you!”  Just listen to the people who were around him who asked, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”  And hear his own disciples who questioned if they really knew him, “What kind of man is this?”

Because if you meet Jesus and do not walk away from life as you knew it, then you did not meet Jesus.  If you and I can meet Jesus and return to our regularly scheduled programming, then we may have met Jesus but we do not know him.  Life with Jesus does not consist of a mere introduction but a lifelong conversation to include long walks like those with the disciples on their way to Emmaus.  We need to listen to Jesus until our hearts burn (Luke 24.32).

If we can remain hard- hearted when it comes to race, then we need to have more than “a little talk with Jesus.”

Because isn’t it a sad commentary that Christians in America cannot come together one day a week for an hour or two, that though Christ prayed that we might become one, it is hardest to answer and to embody this prayer on Sunday (John 17.21)?   That we have integrated businesses and schools, hospitals and cemeteries, buses and hotels, lunch counters and restrooms but not sanctuaries?  That praying hands still section themselves off to worship the God who “so loved the world”?  That a space marked sacred still has the signs of segregation hanging above its doors, that our churches secretly or unconsciously signal, “For white people only” or “For colored people only”?

If anything, Sunday should be the one day that we can come together.  Or, is the Holy Spirit not at work or unable to overcome the challenges of our flesh?  What do we walk in if not the Spirit and where are we going if we are not walking in the spirit of truth (Galatians 5.16; John 16.13)?  We cannot claim the creative power of God, the resurrection power of Jesus and the fire power of the Holy Spirit but continue on as if powerless to challenge and change the social realities of race.  What of this new identity in Christ?

During this season of Lent, we are called to give up our carnal cravings, our fleshly feelings in order to shorten the distance between us and Jesus.  Friends, I assure you that race is not the way.  We are no closer to Christ than when we first begun if we put anything before or in front of Christian: black Christian, white Christian, Republican Christian, Democratic Christian, female Christian, male Christian.  Christ is all or nothing at all (Galatians 3.28; Colossians 3.11).  Following Christ is a one way street and it leads to Calvary.  We cannot continue to follow the prescriptions of race and claim we want to go all the way with Jesus.  Because it is a death walk; race and our racialized identities simply cannot survive.