Thursday, June 29, 2006

The attraction of love in action...

so often there are many words, but little in terms of a lifestyle that reflects the values of the kingdom and a service that exhibits God's great love for humanity. It is of little wonder that, for many, Christianity is not all that attractive.

Charles Ringma reminds us that
"All through God's long march with humanity it is evident that God wanted to bring salvation and wholeness to humankind and to call into being a people who would reflect the grace and goodness of God. This comes to particular fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Jesus, Son of Man, Son of God, and faithful servant of the kingdom of God, proclaims good news, heals the sick, and becomes the hope of the poor. In his life and ministry we gain a window into the heart of God and a visible demonstration of what God's kingdom concerns are all about."
Building on Mother Teresa's observation , "people are attracted by what they see rather than by what they hear" Ringma challenges :-
"so often there are many words, but little in terms of a lifestyle that reflects the values of the kingdom and a service that exhibits God's great love for humanity. It is of little wonder that, for many, Christianity is not all that attractive.

Our world is tired of words, particularly of cliched religious answers and empty political promises. But what is winsome and attractive is love in action. A love spawned by God that sweeps us up in its intensity and transformative power and, as such, so captivates us that we begin to live this love in serving others. This is powerfully attractive."

4 comments:

Eleanor Burne-Jones said...

Today I noticed the gift of love in action that is created by a special needs child. As a team of us wrestled with how to help him overcome serious disabilites, we each lit up with smiles at the moments of triumph we described to each other. As he moved around in the group he was in today, not only did the able childen begin to respond to his gentleness and warmth, and his limitations, by helping, but the adults in charge of an unfamiliar child began to relax - their shoulders relaxed, their faces became more open, and they found ways to help everyone laugh. They found ways to help him learn and join in and belong. He, without even consciously trying to live out his simple Christian faith, brought out the gift of life and love in others.

Matt Clifton said...

You won't be surprised to find me dropping by to dispute yet another author's needless attempt to dichotomise word and action. It is a line of argument foreign to the New Testament.

I think we all know that people are won by the combined, harmonised power of words and actions - after all, even Mother Teresa had to employ attractive words to try to persuade us that words aren't attractive.

:-)

Gordon said...

Thanks Matt - you are always welcome :o) I guess we fleshed this out at length some months ago!

You make a good point that is supported by the empirical evidence of the 'Decade of Evangelism' (known to as some as the decay of evangelism!).

Something was missing, and while there is a lot of contemporary talk of 'sin in the camp' I find no better place to start than trying to root out what was missing and is missing by looking at Jesus' motive and message of mission ie the Reign of God as represented by his words and actions concerning the Kingdom of God.

Thanks for you words of balance!

Matt Clifton said...

Yep - I'm with you if that means asking questions first of all about the Reign of God in my own heart, and in the hearts of Salvationists.

I think that's where your starting point intersects with tough questions about our relationship to God as a movement.

From the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (and the hands act)