“On the last day, the biggest day of the festival, Jesus stood again and spoke aloud. “If any of you is thirsty, come to Me and drink. If you believe in Me, the Hebrew Scriptures say that rivers of living water will flow from within you.” (John 7:37-38)
Unconditional love. Abundant grace. Extraordinary peace. These are the phenomenal gifts I have received upon returning to my Father God through Jesus Christ. I have been transformed by the Spirit, their Oneness who abides in me and who will never abandon me.
As we approach “Good” Friday and Easter Sunday, my intent here is to write about the Big Picture, to distinguish between fundamentalist Christian chatter and the true Gospel of the New Covenant.
Your unfailing love, O God, is precious.
All people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
In Your house, they eat and are full at Your table.
They drink from the fountain of Your overflowing kindness.
You have the fountain of life that quenches our thirst.
Your light has opened our eyes and awakened our hearts. (Psalm 36:7-9; Proverbs 18:4; Isaiah 12:3, 58:11)
For those of us who claim to be Christian, let us view all Scripture through the lens of Jesus. Let us understand that our focus is now to be on the things our Father told Jesus to speak to us when He came in human form. That means loving, trusting, forgiving, refraining from judgment, and extending grace.
Focusing on the words and actions of Jesus, on the wisdom we receive from the Spirit as we abide in Him, we open our hearts and minds to the kind of transformation that occurs to some who has a willingness to be teachable. This teachable spirit plants our feet in the soil of the Tree of Life. It allows the Spirit to produce in us the character of His fruit.
If we instead plant our feet in the cement of law and sin using doctrine and dogma to preach to people or to convert them to our way of thinking, we only drive them further from God. Our mission from Him is reconciliation; accusation, condemnation and fear will not bring people into God’s embrace.
As we worship this God who gave sacrificially – not simply to free us of our burden of sin but primarily to reconcile us with our Father – and conquered death to give us a common and eternal life through his Spirit who abides in us, let’s honor Him by loving like He loved, offering grace like He offered grace, and being lights of the world the way He described us and intended us to be.
You, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light illumines the entire house. You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it. (Matthew 5:14-16, The Voice)