This is the first week of Epiphany for those of you who use a Church Calender. As the New Living Translation’s goal with the Mosaic is to present Christianity in voices from around the world, they have included this as a picture of the Three Wise Men:
I am reminded that the beauty of the Gospel is that it allows for people to interpret it in their own voice. Regarding the African Christ, from the site above:
It is urgent and necessary for us to proclaim and to express the message, the life and the whole person of Jesus-Christ in an African artistic language, in our language which is the expression of our daylife, of our culture. Many people of different cultures have done it before us and will do it in the future, without betraying the historical Christ, from whom all authentic Christianity arises. We must not restrict ouselves to the historical and cultural forms of a particular people or period. The creation of a black Christ in Africa does not diminish at all the historical Christ, on the contrary, it enrichies the universal meaning of the message of God. This God who became one of us in order to proclaim Christ as the Lord of all nations of the world, through all their authentic riches : their languages, their gestures, their art, their whole life and culture. Evangelization means to give the message of the historical and eternal Christ to all nations, following the apostles who made themselves Jews with the Jews, Greeks with the Greeks, similar to their Master who identified himself with every weak and persecuted human being when he said to Saul the persecutor : ” Saul, why do you persecute me ? ” Doesn’t this daring and unspeakable identification go far beyond what we are trying to express by these pictures ? It shows not only their legitimacy but their necessity.
Christ said to take the Gospel to all the world, meaning in some part that when the first disciples, who were Jews of Palestine, arrived at their destinations, they would use the sights and sounds around them to proclaim the glorious truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the readings this morning, we are reminded that all the world will bow to Him:
“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the LORD rises to shine on you. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the LORD rises and appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance.
“Look and see, for everyone is coming home! Your sons are coming from distant lands; your little daughters will be carried home. Your eyes will shine, and your heart will thrill with joy, for merchants from around the world will come to you. They will bring you the wealth of many lands. Vast caravans of camels will converge on you, the camels of Midian and Ephah. The people of Sheba will bring gold and frankincense and will come worshiping the LORD. (Isa 60:1-6)
Give your love of justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son.
Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly.
May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful.
Help him to defend the poor, to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors.
May they fear you as long as the sun shines, as long as the moon remains in the sky. Yes, forever!
May the king’s rule be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass, like the showers that water the earth.
May all the godly flourish during his reign. May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more.
May he reign from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.
Desert nomads will bow before him; his enemies will fall before him in the dust.
The western kings of Tarshish and other distant lands will bring him tribute. The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him gifts.
All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him.
He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.
He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them.
He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him.
(Psa 72:1-14 NLT)
I find that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, even when men are done with it, is about redeeming the oppressed and setting the captives free. No, not all care to have God rule over them, but those that do live a life of newness and one in which we strive to be a christ to others. This might mean a variety of things to others, but the best thing we can do is to remember Whom we represent. So often, we chide atheists, liberals, conservatives, you, them, the others, for ruining Christianity but in the end, it is not the whole host of people who fight against Christianity, but those Christians who for all intents and purposes, as a wise man once said, live as atheists.
I’m really enjoying this rendition of Amazing Grace by a certain Willie Nelson, but I cannot find a suitable video of it, except one which features scenes from LOST:
I hope that each of you have a blessed week, whether you believe or not.