September 17, 2009
Last Sunday we began our fall launch series, Begin Again. We want to point towards a new season of life together at Westside King’s Church, and we want to do it with a better grasp of the life Jesus actually calls us to.
On Sunday, Chris led us through a consideration of the “Emmaus road” story, how two followers of Jesus enter into conversation with him on his resurrection day (Luke 24, check it out). They are returning home after the events that has brought about Jesus’ death, devastated and confused, trying to make sense of who Jesus was and what his life meant for them. But such cannot be done without the full telling of the story, and these two are living with a pre-resurrection perspective, their minds not yet infected by Easter. They need to begin again in their understanding.
I love this story for all of its human reality: how Jesus joins the two as they walk along that dusty road, how he enters into conversation, listening to their (diminished) perspective before sharing his (fuller) perspective. And all the while they are kept from recognizing him. They walk in the presence of life itself and cannot see it. But -- and here is the gracious thing -- over the course of a long walk and a concluding meal, they are helped to see a reality that transcends their common perspective. When they at last recognize it is the living Jesus they are speaking with, he leaves them, but not before they have been “spun” into a transcendent view of life and existence. The categories of frustration and failure they had been rehearsing earlier that day no longer seem relevant except as setup for good news.
I love the word transcendence. It is a word we need to get hold of and to think about. To transcend something is to go over top of it; it is to find the higher point of view. To embrace transcendence, then, is to embrace the higher reality which stands above our common experience, a reality I want to call resurrection, the life Jesus now lives. Transcendence doesn’t do away with our real human lives -- our problems, frustrations, hurdles, challenges, sins -- nor does it avoid them. Transcendence works in the presence of these things by placing all of what we experience into a greater light, a bigger perspective, a fuller picture. The gospel tells us Jesus made this possible.
So here is a text to consider in light of last Sunday’s talk: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2a)
The life Jesus invites us into, the “spin” he was teaching his friends on that dusty Emmaus road, was that the life of transcendence, the life of the “over and above”, is a life that involves a changed perspective. We are transformed by transcendence. Now, how might your life change if you started into a conversation with the living Jesus?
Those are my thoughts,
See you this Sunday at our 9:29 or 11:11 celebrations. Come early for some good coffee at our new coffee bar.