“…you are a unique expression of an idea of God meant to lead others into more of God’s goodness.” –Marshawn Evans Daniels, 100 Days of Believing Bigger Devotional Journal, Day 80
During an “artivism” (activism using art) workshop this week, I was asked: “What is your cause?” “What is your protest?” “What mediums do you use?” Our instructor, Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, a professor at Teachers College-Columbia University, author of several books, and a Christian, guided us as we excavated, examined, and expressed who we are, what we value, and how we enact those values. She was asking in effect: “What are the hues of your light—how much yellow, how much red, how much blue—and through what means does it slay the darkness and usher in God’s glory?” Yolanda reminded us, as does Marshawn, that we are each “unique expressions” of God on assignment, like reporters in a war zone. Our task is not just to capture footage of the carnage and to lament its persistence. Rather, we wage battle. BUT, as the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:4 (NIV) “the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
…there’s something critical about the tension of the finite and infinite colliding in constructive tension.
Yolanda, Marshawn, and Paul remind us that as Christ’s disciples it’s not a matter of whether we have light. The question is: are we actively discerning how the Lord wants to direct it? With the Lord’s guidance—found through prayer, reflection, reading Scripture, conversations in church and other communities—the Lord reveals how to manifest our light for His purposes. R.C. Bingham in his December 12th sermon, “Wonder at the Light,” said the Holy Spirit, like light, cannot be contained. It moves too fast. Yet light can be converted to energy (E=mc^2 or energy = mass times the speed of light squared). We’re Christ’s superconductors – divinely propelled human mass – like particles in the Large Hadron Collider that cause a “big bang,” stirring the world anew because we dare to reach back toward a God already reaching for us that it might at last, at last, be on Earth as it is in heaven.
Somehow in God’s cosmic economy, there’s something radically critical about the tension of the finite and infinite colliding in constructive tension. We, breathing, pulsating swirls of flesh, bones, emotions, thoughts, desires, and strivings are embodied spirits, inspirited bodies! Perhaps God believes the finite keeps us grounded in our dependence on Him and the infinite gives us wings to soar knowing that no circumstance is greater than God’s ability to rectify it and bring it into fulness. With God for us, in us, and with us, we are emboldened to speak truth in love, do justice, love mercy, carry each other’s burdens, extend kindness toward neighbors and strangers, and commit to social structures reflecting the Beloved Community, where all people have the material and social resources to live with dignity and to thrive.
Let’s renew our awe and wonder that the God of the universe, the one who moved over the void and said “let there be light” at the beginning of creation, has written His law of love on our hearts. Just as the baby Jesus grew up 30 years later to be about His Father’s business, may we mature to ever more resplendently be about our Savior’s. May we say amen to our soul magnifying the Lord like Mary in her Magnificat (also check out Hannah’s, which she sang when pregnant with the prophet Samuel centuries before Jesus’s birth). Our lives are living epistles, testaments that Jesus won—and keeps winning! We’re surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, faithful ancestors, who testify to God’s relentless pursuit of humanity since The Fall. Our faith links with theirs as we, wearing the full armor of God, contend against human and spiritual evil and press toward shalom, where nothing is broken and nothing is missing.
As your story interweaves with God’s, ask yourself: How does my soul magnify the Lord? What are the colors of my light? How is Jesus inviting me into arenas to convert my radiance into Kingdom energy for Kingdom purposes? May we sparks of divine splendor walk boldly in the Spirit, in alignment and on assignment, this Advent season—and until Jesus returns. Here’s to higher love (sung as only Whitney Houston could inspire you)! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!