Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lent 2011: Rescued, Redeemed, Now What?

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance – now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. – Hebrews 9:15

All hope is not lost. Although sin entered the world, and we face temptations, we are not doomed. Jesus Christ was born, lived, died, and was resurrected so that we may have hope – hope of once again living in God’s perfect world. We may not have it all figured out yet.

Rebecca still has to choose between feeding her family and treating Christine’s malaria. Christine’s future may seem bleak right now, but there is still hope. If God could pull the odds and send his only Son to give us hope of having a relationship with him, there is no telling what he’ll do to save little Christine. God cares about you and me and all of his creation. As we continue to feel vulnerable, I hope that we’d take comfort in that knowledge.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. – Matthew 6:10

Long ago Jesus taught his disciples how to pray (Matthew 6:5-13), and this prayer is one that most of us have memorized. It acknowledges God’s sovereignty, it reveres God, it lets us ask for our needs, for forgiveness, and for protection. But if you’re like me, you’ve prayed parts of this prayer without having a full understanding of what you were saying. What does it mean to you for God’s kingdom to come? Can we imagine that? Does it look like what we imagined his perfect world to be on Monday?

The second part asks that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. Now when I think of God’s will being done in heaven, I can certainly see angels hard at work. But on earth? We are his creation, right? He made us in his image, saved us by his grace, for his good works (Eph. 2:10).

As hard as I’ve tried, I can’t find better candidates other than us to do God’s will here on earth. So what does it mean for you and I to do God’s will here? What actions do we take that restores God’s kingdom here on earth? Does it mean we provide better choice options for mothers like Rebecca? Does it mean we find a way to give Christine hope of a better future?

We may not have much to give. After all, not all of us are rich. But it does not take much to change the life’s trajectory of many children. More than 2000 children die every night because of a mosquito bite. A $6 bed net can change that, providing protection for up to four years! We may not be able to save all 2000 tonight, but we can certainly find a way to save at least 1.

Our acts say much about who we are, about what God’s kingdom on earth means to us, and about our hope for restoration.

While many, if not all, of our experiences cannot be directly compared to Rebecca’s, the vulnerability we felt when we went without physical protection (or whatever else you went without) is similar to what Rebecca feels every time she has to choose food over medication. So what do we do next?

First, please spend the next 5 minutes praying for people facing “helpless” situations around us. Ask that God reveal to you what role you are to play in “making His kingdom come.” Next, find ways to “help.” Find organizations that alleviate poverty and make the “helpless” less so, and become involved with the work they are doing.

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