1. Our God is King and has won the battle.
2. God entered into the pain and suffering of our world.
3. We do not need to be afraid of pain and suffering because God is with us and God came to set us free.
4. God has filled us so that we can bring God's presence wherever we go.
Week 5: Liberation-Read Psalm 146
Thought: The goal of the cross is not just liberation on the other side of death, but liberation now on earth. Jesus was continually talking about God’s kingdom, bringing God’s kingdom now. Jesus left, according to John 14, so that God’s spirit could be poured out on all flesh so that we could do what Jesus was doing. Now, empowered by Holy Spirit, we can participate in what God is doing to live in solidarity, resist and ultimately bring about liberation here now.
In this Psalm, the writer is talking about literal liberation for those imprisoned, sight for the blind, food for the hungry, justice for the oppressed. We as God's people are called to be a liberation movement, not for the powers that be, but for the people and creatures on the margins of life. This sometimes, for us in the west, brings guilt and with guilt comes shame and then instead of addressing this head on in our life we bury it, get busy and move on.
I try to grocery shop at the same time every week and go to the same grocery tiller. One of the shops I go to I've started to get to know one of the tiller's. This week she asked me if there was anything new in my life "Not really" I responded. "How are you?" I asked. She started telling me this long story about her husband, who was coming home from rehab after breaking his hip for the 3rd time in 6 months. She was nervous. There were people waiting to go through her line. She kept talking. I listened, acknowledged her overwhelming. I didn't pray for her, help her, I just listened. I wish I had a story of liberating someone from sex trafficking, starting an orphanage in Africa, visiting someone in jail and telling them about Jesus. I don't, not right now. I have friends who have those stories. But I am taking extra time to limit the amount of plastic we use, going to as many as 5 grocery stores to get things in bulk bins and produce that hasn't been pre wrapped in plastic. I am taking time to pay attention to the people in my every day life. Heaven on earth means caring for creation, for people, for things in our day to day life that need life here on earth.
Application: Take some time this week to ask Holy Spirit to show you, who in your life could use some of heaven on earth now. I'm not necessarily saying you need to pick up a volunteer job, or donate money somewhere--rather keep your eyes open to those people on the margins of life that you encounter on a day to day basis. What would heaven on earth look like for them? What is Holy Spirit doing? How do you participate?