In one of Jesus’ most memorable and disruptive miracles, he raises Lazarus from the dead. But this time he does not finish the miracle alone. He orders his disciples to “take off the grave clothes and let him go.” This week, we’ll profile some of our people who have been forming one another communities across our city. We’ll tell their stories and celebrate the ways that they have been “taking off the grave clothes” for people that Jesus has raised from the dead.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer… Have equal concern for one another… (and) pray for each other so that you may be healed.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves; each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others… Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
“Do not repay evil for evil; if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone… be patient, bearing with one another in love… Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another; forgive, as the Lord forgave you… Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed… (and) remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his ways will save him from death and cover a multitude of sins.”
“I am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another… Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ… and let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom… set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
“Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another… Don’t grumble against each other or you will be judged, for the Judge is standing at the door… Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing… Let us hold unswervingly to the hope that we profess… and let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Do not give up meeting together – as some are in the habit of doing – but let us encourage one another, and all the more as we see the (last) Day approaching.”
“Live in harmony with one another. Don’t be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position… Do not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another… Instead, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another… accept one another, just as Christ accepted you in order to bring praise to God… be devoted to one another in brotherly love (and) honor one another above yourselves… be kind and compassionate to one another… offer hospitality to one another without grumbling… and when you gather to eat, you should wait for each other.”
In Jesus, God’s solution to a universal problem is a particular person and not just a person but a people through whom God will bless the earth. These people live with God and God lives through these people in ways that are peculiar, yet attractive to the rest of the world. The revelation of Jesus is not just about Jesus. It is also about us, who were “all baptized by one Spirit into one Body . . . and we were all given one Spirit to drink,” (1 Cor. 12:13). Jesus, the Son of God, is the whole Church in the shape of a single person. What if a whole community moved toward this together, from slave to child? What if the Church was truly the Body, the physical Presence of Christ in the world? If we lived together as God lives within Himself, in the Trinity, how would we live And how would it be peculiar yet attractive to the way everyone else lives?