a.k.a. Back to the Shadowlands
How is it possible that 6 weeks have flown by since returning from one of the greatest adventures of my life? I want to remember and treasure every moment, but how quickly life pulls us back in to the realities of everyday living.
But…something has changed. I’ve come back to reality with a new sense of what it means to be real. The Azmera retreat was a tiny taste of heaven on earth, of what is true and real when believers connect with one another and with Jesus. It was how I wish every day could be, worshiping and glorifying our Creator without the cares and troubles of this world pressing in on every side.
And so I’ve come, not back to reality, but back to the shadowlands. This world is but a shadow of what God intended for it to be.1 One day it will be destroyed and a new heaven and earth created, one where righteousness dwells.2 One day we will be freed from the effects of sin, rid of our old bodies and sin natures, completely transformed into immortal, sinless beings.3
No eye has seen, no ear has heard
No human mind has conceived
the things God has prepared
for those who love him.4
No more death, no more war, no more pain, no more tears, no more poverty, no more hungry or abandoned or abused children.
No more pride, no more lies, no more scheming, no more hatred, no more laborious toil, no more dysfunction or conflict that robs us of time and energy and drains us emotionally.
No more darkness.
Instead, there will be rest and worship and light and love and glorious fellowship with Jesus.
But until then…
What kind of people ought we to be?5
We are to reflect the reality we have found in Christ to those living in these shadowlands.6
- Jesus brought light into a dark world, and we are to do the same.
You are to be light-bearers,
shining on a hilltop
being generous with your lives.7
- Jesus brought life into a world crippled by sin and death, and has appointed us as his ambassadors to tell the world that new life is possible.
He has committed to us
the message of reconciliation,
and we implore you on Christ’s behalf:
Be reconciled to God.8
- Jesus brought love into a hopeless world, and we are to do the same.
A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.9
How do we bring the reality of Jesus’ light, life, and love to the world? By staying connected to the vine (Jesus) and allowing the life-giving sap of the Holy Spirit to flow through us, producing lasting fruit.
This, my friends, is what it means to live in the reality of Christ, as representatives traveling on the passports of our heavenly citizenship.
Remember to live real in an unreal world.10
This is our task – are you up to it?
1 Job 8:9
2 2 Peter 3:13
3 1 Cor. 15:51-55
4 Isaiah 64:4, 1 Corinthians 2:9
5 2 Peter 3:11
6 Colossians 2:17
7 From Matthew 5:14-16, MSG
8 2 Corinthians 5:19-20
9 John 13:34-35
10 As quoted by Gail Frey