I thought I had him down pat. I thought I knew who he was, what he did, and why he did it.
The Jesus of my upbringing was perfectly crystal clear on who was in and who was out. He seemed like the ultimate master that welcomed the cross. And despite the myriad of visual expressions of this man from Nazareth, my favorite being the Lord’s Gym Jesus found here, I had Jesus figured out.
But then, well, I encountered the Jesus of the Gospel of Luke. Ugh! This Jesus wasn’t as black and white, in clearly defined margins, and predictable.
This Jesus was the prophet of misfortune, the breaker of chains, the savior of the oppressed, and the lover of sinners. This Jesus broke bread with the prostitutes, tax-collectors, so-called sinners, and their religious opposites.
This Jesus, at his core, was relational, authentic, inclusive, and present in people’s lives. This Jesus deconstructed my theological assumptions to rubble.
When I began to reconstruct my theological understanding of him, this Jesus was a teacher rather than judgmental preacher, a model of the way rather than frustrated authoritarian, relationally present rather than religiously obligated to help others.
Jesus showed us the power of relationships. Jesus modeled for us what it looks like to be relationally present. Jesus leads us in the way of transforming the ordinary into extraordinary.
Over the last year and a half, we have been working to create opportunities to be relationally present in each other’s lives as an authentic community of faith. Each month, we have a church-wide Gathering centered on community. Each week, we offer multiple Connect Groups gathered around shared interests.
As we are enhancing our trust in and love for one another, we want to simultaneously invite others to encounter our authentic faith community through these same mechanisms; monthly Gatherings and Connect Groups.
People will not come unless they are invited. Therefore, we are empowering and challenging you, all of us, to invite someone you care for to one of our upcoming Gatherings and/or Connect Groups.
The Fall Gathering, October 27, and the Thanksgiving Gathering, November 24, are un intrusive opportunities to introduce others to the inclusiveness of UBC.
Our like-interest Connect Groups currently include Book Club, Cooking Club, Golf, Young Guys Group, Midday Theology, Running Group, Playdates, Cycling and Swimming, Guitar Lessons, Young Ladies Group, Off-Limits Conversations, and Singles Group. We are also exploring new groups from our Summer Gatherings, including dancing, yoga, walking, frisbee golf, and art. If there are not groups that meet your interest, reach out to Eric@ubc-br.org about creating a new group.
Look for opportunities to be the presence of Jesus in someone’s life today. Choose to use everyday ordinary opportunities as extraordinary opportunities for God’s transforming work.