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Monday, December 31, 2012

For 2013: Living by the Values of the Future


 One of the responses to the recent rash of mass killings in this country has been to advocate for even more civilians being armed as a way to help prevent such tragedies. But to me that represents another step backwards to a less civilized and more violent era of human history. Aren't we supposed to be maturing to becoming better and wiser than that?

I once heard George Brunk III, former dean of Eastern Mennonite Seminary, say, “Our faith is not so much about preserving values from the past as it is about living by the values of the future.”

In other words, we’re not just about resisting change and holding on to our good heritage, but are called to radically demonstrate a way of life now that has never yet really been, except maybe in the Garden of Eden. Thus as a people of God we are to be an advertisement about what the future will be like, when the Prince of Peace is fully sovereign, when God’s will will be done on earth as it already is in heaven.

And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes; 
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, 
neither shall there be any more pain: 
for the former things have passed away.

That’s what the future will look like, and that's what fashions the lives of a people who are already living by the rules of the future, when people everywhere will model the prophet Isaiah’s vision of  refashioning “swords into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks,” and will “study war no more.” Like Jesus, we will already live as though the wolf were lying down with the lamb, the leopard with the kid,  and with a little child leading them. Thus it can be said of us, “(T)hey will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea.”

That’s the tomorrow we’re being enlisted to join and rehearse for today, to truly become a showcase, a demonstration site, a foretaste, an Exhibit A, of what God’s forever world will inevitably be like. God’s people, inspired by God-with-us, simply can’t wait for the next life to begin living that way.

This is the good news, that wherever on earth God reigns, the peaceful rule of Messiah has already begun.

So for the New Year and forever, "Shalom, Peace, Salem to all"      
  
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