Bible, justice, Mission, Theology, Worship

Some lessons from Ernie Wise’s hair.

I don’t know if you remember Morecambe and Wise, but one of the jokes about Ernie Wise was with his hairstyle you couldn’t see the join, in other words it was ‘a comb-over’.

It made think though, the idea of not seeing the join, of something seamlessly linking up appealed to me…

I’m passionate about Worship, Mission and Justice and the more I thought about it, the more I thought this was like Ernie’s hair, the more we worship God we realize how awesome he is and how much the world needs him, which causes us to want other people to know him and to love him -our worship drives our mission-. Although not a great fan of the theologian John Piper, I do like his quote which says “Mission Exists because worship doesn’t”. Yet when we meet people and want them to know the love of Jesus, we also come to love them, and want justice for their cause, food for their bodies, clothing and shelter for them too; it is all part of praying that ‘Gods Kingdom will come on earth as it is in Heaven’ where mission and justice literally kiss each other our words and actions speaking beautifully in entwined harmony.  As we seek God’s Kingdom in mission and justice, we see God at work and we see his heart for his creation, which is beautiful and brings afresh to the place of worship. Worship, Mission, Justice seamlessly blended together in the life of Christs followers.

Yet as I thought more about this so many things that we separate I realized God wants to draw together, to repair as he never intended them to be separated.

Prayer and Action were never meant to be two alternative options, but rather the dual response of the people of God (especially evident in the story of Nehemiah).

Or the theological old chestnut of Paul’s Epistles and the letter of James, faith and works were not meant to be ‘either/or’ but rather again were both meant to be held together in perfect tension.

Jesus calls us to work in Spirit  and in truth, and yet so often his Church is either passionate about his Spirit but neglects his word and scripture, or they are passionate about truth and yet the Spirit is largely ignored. Yet Jesus says that “TRUE WORSHIPERS worship in Spirit AND Truth”.

We are called to speak to one another in truth and love, and yet I have seen people claiming to be Christians and claiming to be truthful ripping into someone in a way which can’t be called loving, I have also seen people being so nicey, nicey to people avoiding all conflict but never bringing the healing, transformation and blessing that speaking the truth could have brought… Speaking the truth in love is really, really hard, but really, really worth doing.

Even in creation we see the fall separating what should have been together, the most obvious example is sex, which always intended by God to be in context of loving, secure, committed relationship (which is God’s desire for our marriages) and yet when these are taken out of context often we see hearts broken and people getting emotional hurt.

Theologically too, at the heart of our faith are truths which cannot be split:

Jesus being fully Man, fully God.
Human Free Will and God’s Sovereignty.
The Cross where Wrath and Mercy meet kissing a guilty world with love.
The Cross where God’s Holiness and his love dance together in redemption of the world