Thursday, September 2, 2010

What brings a mosaic together?

As I continue to move forward in my life after Israel, its impact continues to resound in my life. Sometimes I think it is slowly magnifying day by day, but ultimately that it not the main issue I want to share with you all today.

Psalm 67: 3-7
"May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him."
As I sat in class this week, my professor shared a song with us in which the lyrics were simply Psalm 67. I loved it of course and have listened to it over and over. Yes, I'm one of those people that just kill a song when I like it. God's heart for all peoples is something that is continually being revealed to me more and more. When asked for a short answer about Israel I gave them the word culture and a short explanation. I realized the depth that comes in studying Christ's Jewish roots, His culture but I also saw the importance of understanding my own. Which left me with the struggle of loving those around me for Christ without becoming completely immersed in the culture and simply being of this world.
The beauty of God's people going to the end of the earth leaves me in awe of our multifaceted God. Christ has called us to proclaim His good news to the end of the earth, yet He calls us to love our neighbors. To walk with Him (AKA living our life with God) not worrying about tomorrow but living in the present, giving ourselves to Him and those we can serve and love around us. The tapestry God paints is full and magnificent in the entire world but with a closer look is a "mosaic of local beliefs and practices in creative tension with a universal framework shaped by belief in the God of the Bible, as handed down through Jesus and His followers (Robert, Christian Mission)."
Ephesians 2:19 "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone."
While in Israel, we got the chance to see the wall that now encloses the area of the Dome of the Rock (once was the Temple). The picture above is a cornerstone. You can't see it wrap around the corner but it does. Looking at the stones you can see how each is perfectly formed to fit this wall. It has stood here for countless years with no cement to bind it together (fun fact that wall runs much, much deeper into the ground-the ground has been built up over the years). Jesus is a tecton, translated in our bible as a carpenter. A tecton is actually more generally a worker skilled in making buildings, whether with wood or stone. While in the Galilee you see very few tress and the trees that are there are not native to the area. Now combine this picture, verse, and expanded meaning of Jesus' occupation. Jesus is chiseling us, "cutting off the branches that bear no fruit" and pruning us so we will be more fruitful (John 15). He does this to form us to the perfect fit within not just a local body of believers but the worldwide body and He himself binds us together, making sure that we will not crumble.
How have you seen God worshiped in other cultures, either in the US or another nation? This summer I went to a talent show in Kansas where a group called Divine Intervention offered there many talents of rapping, dancing, humor, and gospel singing to the Lord, to glorify Him. I wasn't necessarily always comfortable but praise Jesus for the heart they have for Him. It was beautiful. Feel free to share any of your experiences to give others of an idea of the Lord's masterpiece mosaic painted as His Spirit works in us.