In one of the most powerful and poignant moments in the history of our church, Pastor Steve Witherup described to our church family how the lives of followers of Christ are disruptive to the world around them. The following is a transcript from July 8, 2012.
Language is a powerful thing. Every speech act is an attempt to interpret, communicate or describe something that we all know is actually bigger than the words themselves.
When seeking to communicate some thought or describe a thing we are passionate about, we search for certain words that just cut deeper; words that sink themselves a bit closer to the core of our being in an attempt to bring about a concreteness to our understanding.
Certain descriptive words, more than others, seem to have that ability – not only do they communicate, but they inspire. The hearer finds themselves feeling compelled to respond in some fashion to the thought that was communicated.
So how do we describe this new life that we find in Christ? Of course many different words can be used to describe the life that a true belief in Christ produces; but as we are challenged this week by Pastor David to live in a way that puts faith in action through simple practical acts of kindness performed within your community – within your circle of influence, I wonder if we could land on one word to describe this Christian life as a way to inspire us… as a way to focus our mind to imagine what restored humanity in Christ just may look like.
You see, as we become vulnerable and entrust our worship to our Creator God; as we experience Him deeply; as we encounter Him intimately, what results is that our very life becomes a poetic, doxological expression that is DISRUPTIVE. That is not something we often hear, but I believe that the Christian life is not one of concession. One of the most powerful, ‘felt’ ways to describe the Christian life is to call it…DISRUPTIVE
Not disruptive by way of force, by flexing muscle, by pulling out swords, by seeking to seize power or by being unruly, seeking to simply be the loudest voice in the room; but through the subtle, absolutely beautiful way that the mere presence of…
love has a funny way of disrupting hate
the way that compassion disrupts hurt
that kindness has a way of disrupting anger
truth has a way of disrupting deception
hope has a way of disrupting despair
embrace has a way of disrupting dissension
generosity has a way of disrupting greed
freedom has a way of disrupting oppression
gentleness has a way of disrupting aggression
joy has a way of disrupting sorrow
unity has a way of disrupting division
mercy has a way of disrupting vengeance
forgiveness has a way of disrupting bitterness
a life of self abdication has a way of disrupting self absorption
true beauty has a way of disrupting ugliness
dignity and value have a way of disrupting worthlessness
the way that light has funny way of disrupting darkness
Ultimately all of that can be summed up in the truth of this statement; life has a funny way of disrupting death. To many of us that sounds backwards because we are all currently existing, and within that existence there is a nervousness, a worry that death will show itself to be a disruption to our existence.
That mentality, I believe is backwards. For too long we have equated existing with life and have feared the disruptive force of death. In the Biblical narrative we read of the fall of man told in Genesis 3. It is here where we see the origin of mans attempt to produce an autonomous, meaningful life apart from his Creator. What results is ugly; a culture of death, characterized by oppression, exploitation, deception, greed, aggression and despair. In John 10 we read that the forces of evil seek to maintain this culture of death and that culture is where so many of us find ourselves living, working, playing.
However, that is not the end…John 10 goes on to tell us that the work of Christ is to disrupt this culture of death and offer abundant life.. true life.
We believe Christ defeated sin and death and desires to make all things new; that the resurrected Messiah breathed life into our mortal bodies and called us to live in a way that announces this renewal to all creation.
So do we, possessors of new life, now seek to simply best survive within the culture of death… or do we disrupt it?
I truly believe that when we encounter our creator, understand his love and salvation, and allow our life to become the beautiful poetic response it was always intended to be.. then it will not be us that fears death disrupting our existence, but the culture of death will tremble with fear and anxiety as we see with our very eyes the way in which life has a funny way of disrupting death.