Jesus is Lord
How often do we forget that Jesus, not us nor our ideas, is Lord? Each of us, whoever we are, whatever our calling, is to live in the light of this reality, writes Joe Haward
Events over the last 18 months have taught us many things, brought to light hidden pain, and challenged us in ways none of us could have prepared for. But there is one thing I have learnt throughout this time, something I wish I had previously been more convinced of, but has been searing itself into my heart and soul. And it’s this...
Jesus is Lord.
This may seem a strange thing to say, for surely in the waters of baptism, in the call to a life of discipleship, in the setting apart and call to ministry, the Lordship of Christ was affirmed, reaffirmed, and regarded to be vital, utterly non-negotiable?
Well of course, yes. But, in brutal honesty and openness, how often have I lived as one who declares the Lordship of Christ with my mouth and yet follows—as the book of Obadiah puts it—the pride of my own heart, the whims and fads of the world around me? The constant temptation within ministry and church life is to forget, to have amnesia about the call of the gospel. How much easier to chase quick-fix ideas, to pursue the path of marketing the church like another product in the world of consumerism, to view the people of our communities as targets to reach, and the people of God as resources to reach those targets. How often do we forget that Jesus, not us nor our ideas, is Lord?
The pages of history are splattered with the dogma and blood shed by rulers and dictators, Kings and Queens, Caesars and politicians, each demanding, through violence and the blind pursuit of ideology, that they be regarded as in control, as the one whom citizens must follow. But ideologues rise and fall as they each seek claim upon our wills and lives.
As these bloody pages of history are written, the Wind of the Spirit blows, carrying upon it a whisper first uttered behind locked doors, that turns into a joyful declaration on city streets, which in turn becomes a movement that transforms an Empire; that whisper? Jesus is Lord.
While many of the rulers throughout history have governed through drawn swords or loaded guns, this Lord commands forgiveness of enemies, prayer not violence, washes our feet, and sheds his own blood for the salvation of the cosmos. This Lord, this Prince of Peace, brings about his Kingdom through the revolution of love, the outrageousness of grace, the transforming power of hope. We now stand in the Son-rays of resurrection morning, the vindication and validation of Jesus’ Lordship, all of humanity beckoned in and invited into the very Life and dance of God.
The call to trust in God is a difficult one. Fear and panic can often set in. The feeling of needing to justify yourself. The desire to see results, of assessing your worth through such results, all of which lead us down paths that reflect our own narcissistic desires rather than obedience to the cruciform will and heart of God.
Irenaeus, writing in the second century, compared the way we can try and manipulate and change the gospel to suit our own opinions and desires, to that of a beautiful mosaic. This beautiful image is of a king constructed by some skilful artist out of precious jewels. It is as if we take this image of the king to pieces and rearrange the gems, fitting them together into a new and different image, and even then it is poorly executed. Yet we maintain that this is still the beautiful image of the king as we point to the various jewels that make up the mosaic. But it isn't the king any longer, but something else entirely.
This is our constant temptation, to forsake the difficult and treacherous road of following Christ, to take the beautiful mosaic and shape it according to our own wills and desires. So we are called to remember. The Spirit of God beckons us to turn with John and see the slain suckling Lamb and recognise this One as Lord. No power or ruler or authority will ever unseat Jesus from his place of Lordship.
Remember. Jesus is Lord.
Each of us, whoever we are, whatever our calling, is to live in the light of this reality. Trial and temptation will leave us thirsty in the desert of identity crisis. Desire to transform the beautiful mosaic of the Lordship of Christ into the whims, desires and fads of the day will come our way. Fear of failure will echo in our ears luring us in. Yet this day we declare the Yes and Amen of Christ is greater than the No of sin and death. We declare Jesus is Lord.
We are called to embody this truth, in word and action, naming the Powers that enslave, and living—in this beautiful yet broken world, with beautiful yet broken people just like us—the Good News of the Crucified God, who is the hope of the whole cosmos. The midnight of sin and death will one day give way to the resurrection dawn as it breaks forth with healing in its wings, the God of history ushering it in.
Image | Jon Tyson | Unsplash
The Revd Joe Haward is a business chaplain, community minister, and writer.
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