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Can you imagine Jesus saying/singing this to you?
“But remember this, my brother
See in this some higher plan
You must use this precious silver
To become an honest man
By the witness of the martyrs
By the Passion and the Blood
God has raised you out of darkness
I have bought your soul for God!”
– Bishop Myriel in Les Misérables
(Where “precious silver” = forgiveness giving you a new start, plus God’s Spirit dwelling with & in you;
“the Passion” = what they used to call Jesus’ trial & crucifixion)
I just read a good article on Desiring God on “Giving to Those Who Ask: It’s Just Hard”. In it, Jon Bloom wrestles over part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and how we’re supposed to react when it tells us to “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:42, ESV). Et cetera.
But from the words Jesus speaks here, I think it applies more often and more broadly than I want it to. He does not let me off the hook easily. He tests my heart with such radical love. And in my heart I see my selfish, unloving impulses that do not want to part with my money, possessions, time, or convenience for needy or evil people. And I have a ready arsenal of noble-sounding rationales that conceal my sin, almost from myself.
True, Mr. Bloom. Very true indeed.
I’ve been slowly figuring out what it means to have ethnic parts of your background and how it influences you as a person. Probably ever since Halifax Project is when it became something I thought more consciously about.
I guess that’s what happens when you take 20+ white ppl and a handful of Chinese, one Filipina, and one Persian/Chinese and let them live together and love each other as children of our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ.
But anyways, my point is this: race and culture is part of who we are. Yes, God tells us that there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free, for all are one in Christ Jesus (see Galatians 3:28). But He also tells us that it was Jesus’ intention to redeem us from every tribe we were a part of, every language group we came from, and every nation we live in (see Revelations 5:9) – that’s how it describes us as His redeemed people. So, I think that while God it telling us that barriers and divides don’t matter anymore when we’re Christians, in the sense that we are all united as equals (equally valued, equally chosen, equally united), He’s still affirming that the diversity that we are created in and with is important. I believe this diversity displays God’s awesomeness and goodness. And His artistry, too.
side thought: that sounds really weird to me, because I usually don’t like the idea of being “artsy”. I guess artistic & artsy don’t have to be the same thing 😛
So what am I really trying to say? I was born in Singapore, and while I didn’t grow up there, I grew up with a Singaporean (that’s my original nationality) Cantonese (that’s my language group) family around me, and with relatives of the same stripe. I can remember watching Cantonese movies with relatives, with the horribly illegible Chinese/English subtitles (white text with no special background). I know what the Wong Fei Hong music sounds like, even though I can’t speak Cantonese fluently.
I can’t actually remember why I decided to write about my Chinese-ness, anymore. Oh yeah, I remember now (I was phoning a Cantonese friend and their Dad picked up. He speaks English, though).
Anyways, my point is this: “race & culture” matters.
A more important question, though, is Does God Matter?
(hee hee, that’s the big debate we’re running here at the University of Waterloo right now)
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Grace and peace to you from Jesus Christ. For real!
This photo was taken at Joy Bible Camp near Bancroft, Ontario in December 2008.
Produced in Picnik (free version)
– If you would like to use this image in your own personal Christmas cards, please provide a link back to my blog if possible