Just had two days of 24/7 fellowship with a little group of Bosnian, Swedish, and American friends who came to my apartment for an evening and stayed for two days. Others came and went, sharing meals, playing games, conversing, praying and watching films until the wee hours of the morning. It was a diverse group. Not all of my them professed to know and follow Jesus. But all were included. And this living lesson highlighted my growing awareness that inclusion is the essence of the gospel and the most fundamental thing about God himself.
As near as I can see, the kingdom Jesus spoke of was open to all except two types of people:
- Those who rejected Him. (Jesus never, never forced himself on those who didn’t want to be around him).
- Those who rejected others. (Like the Pharisees, who couldn’t deal with a God who hung out with tax-collectors and prostitutes as if they were on the inside track of his love.)
“Love one another… by this shall all men know that you are my disciples.” I used to read this command almost as a postscript to all the real stuff, “Oh… and incidentally, don’t forget to love each other. It’s good advertisement for the kingdom, you know.” But in these past months I’m seeing with new eyes that the most fundamental thing about the Father, Son & Spirit is the love that courses through the Trinity itself. And the only way we can truly reveal who HE is, is to live in that rich inclusive love, first receiving the love of the Godhead into ourselves and then pouring it out indiscriminately to others.
My life is being changed by this idea. “Ministry,” (whatever that really is), just happens effortlessly as I receive the love of the Trinity and then allow it splash out onto others.
I wish I could introduce you to my new friend, Amer, who came into our lives in just that way. He was serving drinks to several of us at a coffee bar when the love of Jesus spontaneously embraced him. He just knew intuitively that he was included, and found himself on the inside of the love of God without having to do anything to get there. “Is he a believer yet?” I’ve almost stopped asking those sorts of questions. What I can tell you is that Amer has caught a glimpse of Jesus, and he’s been following the love that he’s experienced. That same Love will sort out his theology.