In seasons when my faith has faltered, I can invariably point to a fumbled prayer life. Prayer empowers and gives vision; the lack of it weakens trust and causes me to wander.
To enter into the heart of Jesus is to submit to hidden, unglamorous work.
There is a robust history of artistic license when it comes to portrayals of Christ. On the one hand, Jesus Christ was a Middle Eastern man whose existence is verified by historians. On the other hand, Christians affirm that Jesus was also fully divine, the Son of God. Because of the truth that God took on human flesh to enter into our existence, sometimes artists dwell in that larger thought, portraying Jesus as an African man, or a Japanese fisherman, or as a blond-haired, blue-eyed European. Other times, artists have attempted to portray the physical specificity of the Messiah who was born in Bethlehem to poor Jewish parents 2,000 years ago.
“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” We all have something in each list. Tonight, I want to remind you that life is a complex mixture of all three kinds of experiences…good to celebrate, bad to grieve, and ugly to heal.
The EMMS – Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society – has devised a beautiful opportunity for pastors to take a needed sabbatical, get physical activity, and provide the world’s poorest people. Their “Pedal and Pray” initiative engages clergy from around the world with the chance to take a sabbatical of a lifetime. Cycle with other pastors through Malawi for ten days this July and raise money for healthcare ministries in Malawi.
Any Christian who wants to appear pious knows that he or she should want God’s will to be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Few people want to scrub a toilet, wipe down its exterior, and clean the floor surrounding it. But you cannot separate faith from works.
In other words, the will to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven is not nearly as important as the will to ask God how we might help bring about God’s will to be done on earth today in our home and town and nation.