Sunday, January 16, 2011

Extremists of Love

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?"
-Jesus, Sermon on the Mount

"...But as I continued to think about the matter (being labeled an extremist) I gradually gained a bit of satisfaction from being considered an extremist. Was not Jesus an extremist in love - "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that spitefully use you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice - "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ - "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist - "Here I stand; I can do no other so help me God." Was not John Bunyan an extremist - "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist - "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist - "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." So the question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist will we be. Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice - or will we be extremists for the cause of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill, three men were crucified. We must not forget that all three were crucified for the same crime - the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. So, after all, maybe the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists."
-Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham City Jail

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Aslan's Table

This past week I went to see, “Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, the newest installment of the Narnia movies with my wife. The movie itself was kinda boring (IMO), but the last 30 minutes or so was worth the rest of it. As usual, the clips with Aslan were the best!

Numerous (spiritual/biblical) themes were woven into the movie, but two themes really stuck with me after the film. The first was the multiple references to non-violence and peace (Aslan’s kingdom and Way). Of course I can naturally pick up on those inferences, perhaps even reading into certain scenes too much! But in a movie that revolves around war(s), conflict of good/evil, and general combat, it was an interesting subtle theme. However, that is not what I wanted to reflect on here. I wanted to reflect on what was the most powerful line of the film for me.

It took place at Aslan’s Table towards the end of the movie. Ramandu’s daughter, later to become the princess of Naria, said to everyone present in the scene.…

“Anyone is free to eat at Aslan’s table.” (paraphrase…or word for word quote, I am not sure…)

Definitely a powerful one liner, in a movie filled with them.

Anyone is free and able to eat from God’s table. Anyone is free to be united in relationship and purpose with Christ. The poor are not rejected, the rich are not rejected. The forgotten and oppressed of this world aren’t turned away from eating, mighty rulers can even sit and feast. Aslan’s Table for is for ALL.

As 2011 draws near, a huge motivating factor in sharing Jesus with those around me in need of food, shelter, friendship, purpose, whatever it may be…is that Jesus, the hope of the world, is free for all who wish to know Him.

Happy 2011.