by Rev. Garrett Andrew
God is at work! That is all I have to tell you, in fact that is all that needs to be told. My life is a testament to God being at work, and I hope, should you be able to muster enough faith, that you can also look back upon your life and see that God has been at work in you and among you too.
I did just use the word “faith.” That is a mighty and scary little word. To some the word “faith” inspires fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of those who call themselves faithful, fear that reason has jumped out of the door, fear of judgment, fear of conflict, fear of pain, fear of war, the list goes on.
We all know people who have left the church because, so the reason goes, there is just too much fear mongering occurring inside its walls. We all know people who shudder the thought of having to listen to some tired tirade of eternal damnation should they not accept Jesus Christ. Maybe you who are reading this right now are of that ilk. If you are know that I am sorry. Please do not judge Jesus based off the people who have attempted to beat you over the head in his name. Those people truly believe what they are telling you. They fear for your salvation and sometimes people come up with some pretty awful ways of dealing with their fear, and that includes trying to make you afraid. I get it, sometimes it gets so tiresome it seems the whole thing must be a farce, so you give up on it completely.
Therefore please, please do not judge Jesus because of me, and people who believe we are called to do what we do. I am not that good of a person, yet I believe that because God loves me God is at work in me… and I wish I could make that word “ love” stronger. I mean God truly loves me. I ponder the poetic image of angels surrounding the throne of God in some ridiculous celebration when one of us is conceived of in the heart, and mind, and womb, and yes love of God.
I question notions of power when I consider my belief that Jesus was God with us, and somehow, through the chemistry of God’s wonder is still with us, and that he drove the powerful people crazy and gave the hurting people a sense of wholeness. We are a broken down lot. We are on more pills now than any other country and than ever before. Anxiety and stress are rampant within our households and our psyches, or souls, or whatever you want to call them. It is hard to find people who love themselves. I believe that Jesus still can make us whole. I know that is some religious talk that is hard to buy if you are tired of it, but I have watched people made more whole. Not perfect mind you, what is perfect anyway? But made more whole. Their lives more filled with… with what exactly? Oh words they fail me!
God still turns people’s lives upside down, and that is all what we need. Some of us worry too much about things, material garbage. Some of us worry over others, and the future, or maybe the past, and well there is just so much to worry about. Worry is sometimes justified but seldom fruitful, because worry often becomes fear, and fear births more fear.
And somewhere someone once wrote, “God is love,” and that same person wrote, “perfect love casts out fear.” Well that changes everything for me, and I have watched that same spirit, or maybe Spirit, change everything for others. God loves me and God turns the entire world upside down. My life has been turned upside down on many occasions because I follow this sense of call, this belief within a belief, this always-quiet voice that every so often raises a bit louder if I have not been listening. This still small voice says that everything is not as it seems, that love is still greater than fear, that the world is a place that needs to turn upside down, that sometimes my life must be as well, and that is because God is at work and nothing ever remains the same until we are whole.
Perhaps the best way to turn the world upside down is to love people. Love them because God loves you, because that is what we were made to do, because it is just good and we need some goodness in this world. Those people who others turn away because they are different, or less than, or poor, or foreign, or… I am going to do my best to love them. My best is pretty bad though, so I will also tell of my God who loves the world so much that God would descend into hell, the hells of yesterday, the living hells of today, and the eternal hell too, just to raise it all up and to make us whole, and to make everything new. God never gives up and will never give up. God is at work right now. Maybe you think I am crazy, and maybe I am, but then let it be known I am crazy for Christ. I will not stop pointing out all the ways I see God at work. And I hope that God is at work defeating your fears, turning your worlds upside, and giving you the faith to look at the bad in the world and say, “Your time is running out because I see God at work!”