“It is surely a fact of inexhaustible significance that what our Lord left behind Him was not a book, nor a creed, nor a system of thought, nor a rule of life–
but a visible community.” (Leslie Newbigin)
The approach of Easter, if nothing else, gives us reason to pause from our daily tasks long enough to reflect on our Lord and our lives. Jesus, and his friends who wrote about him later, made it perfectly clear that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were primarily about two things: the forgiveness of sins and the inbreaking reign of the kingdom of heaven.
Over 2000 years later we still wrestle to understand history’s greatest mystery: the world remains broken, humans are still cracked, and yet the kingdom is here. The visible community continues to wrestle with what it means to be visible, and what it means to be a community. We pause to remember the life and death of the human God and the suffering King, even as we wrestle with how to best follow him.
Sometimes I lose heart; sometimes when I survey the Christian landscape I fear that our greatest efforts add up to nothing more than tempests in teacups. And then I see stories like this, and I remember that heaven is indeed taking charge here on earth.
Heaven is taking charge in a tiny orphanage in Seoul, in the form of babies in a box.In a city where it is not uncommon for babies to be abandoned in the streets, one Christian family decided to build a box into the wall of their house. There are few actions that show our cracks more than a mother leaving her child in a box and walking away forever. The drop box serves as a painful reminder that Easter may have begun, but it has not been completed.
But, Easter carries the promise that heaven is taking charge here on earth. And just as Jesus opened the door and stepped out of death, so a little family in Seoul opens the other side of the box and rescues a child from death. What else besides a confidence rooted in heaven would inspire someone to take a boy left for dead and give him the name that mocks defeat:
“His name is Victory.”
We are the visible community, we live in light of the victory. But our victory isn’t for us alone; a central theme of ancient scripture is that the people of God are blessed in order to be a blessing. Good Friday reminds us that our sins are forgiven, and Easter reminds us that heaven is taking charge.
But does anyone around us know it?
Perhaps the greatest question for our generation is this: Will we reduce the kingdom to tempests in teacups, or will we open the other side of the box?