"I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning," Jesus told his disciples. He had sent out 70 of those following him to nearby villages to spread the news of the kingdom of God. It wasn't an exceptionally impressive group or number of people. The young and eager followers are received in some villages and rejected from others. Proudly, I think, Jesus responds to his disciples saying that he saw Satan tumble in defeat. "Really?" Bob asked on Sunday. After such a meager effort? Satan falling from the skies like lightning? Jesus seems to be overstating it. It would seem like a much grander effort would be needed to affect such a change.
In the simple mundane service of a few, great change can be affected. It does not have to be an amazing display of power. In fact, it is in service and weakness that Jesus' followers are able to cause the spread of the Kingdom of God. The Old Testament story from this week was about Naaman, the Syrian War General who comes to God's prophet Elisha with chariots filled with gold. He wants to buy healing and wholeness. Elisha tells him to go wash in the Jordan River...a prospect even less glamorous than being told to jump in the Chicago River. Naaman has to be disarmed of his power, privilege, and assumptions about how God works before he can experience the wholeness that he longs for.
Each of us and the world that we live in needs healing: physically, emotionally, socially, or economically. The kingdom of God is at hand and it offers wholeness. But it does not spread through force, wealth, power, or advanced strategy. It advances when we exchange anger for patience, stinginess for generosity, and judgment for compassion. Bob marveled on Sunday at the idea that serving hot dogs to Hunger Walk participants, hearing their stories, arriving early to set up, and staying late to clean could cause Satan to fall like lightning. In simple tasks of humility the kingdom of God breaks into the world and affects changes beyond what our eyes can see.
- We pray for those affected by attacks in Bangladesh, Baghdad, Turkey, and elsewhere in a devastating week. We mourn these tragedies and we are desperate for peace. Help us to be peace makers.
- We give thanks for the privileges and freedoms that we have as a result of living in the U.S. We pray that we would live lives of blessing on behalf of those who are not as privileged as we are. Give us the courage to live generously and selflessly as citizens of our kingdom.
- Join the Lincoln Park community group this Wednesday evening at 8:00 in Millennium Park. We will meet in the grass at the back of Pritzker Pavilion. If it rains, we'll be gathering at Caleb's apartment in Printer's Row. Check the events page for updated information!
- EVERYONE is invited to Ph.D Pub in University Village this Friday for a "Dinners With Grace" hosted by Vic and Tiffany Lyday. The event starts at 6:00 and is a great opportunity to get to know some people. We have a section of the pub reserved, and we'll be grilling. You can RSVP here.
- The first Women's Event is scheduled for July 14th! Mark your calendars and check the events page for more information.