As we search for a youth minister, I find myself back to planning a youth retreat. Which allows me one of my favorite tasks, t-shirt design. This is where I think my real talent lies… but like any artist, not everyone understands. I sent front and back images to the t-shirt guy. In a third image I laid out the design (what you see above), but received a confused response. Something must have happened to the image in transit. The person was divided into pieces.
I guess I am ahead of my time… or maybe way behind the times, since I am trying to get back to 1Corinthians 12. Either way, the t-shirt guy didn’t understand. But he is happy to make whatever we will pay for… people understand money.
One delightful part of youth (and kids) is their honesty. They have yet to learn to cover over rough edges. For instance, we discussed favoritism in James 2 – where James urges the church to not value rich over poor. Adults have learned to pretend to agree with scripture. But the youth bluntly stated that James does not make any sense. The rich person could fill up the tithe box! If we are honest we all understand life this way. Like the t-shirt guy, money talks.
But the work of God doesn’t fit our box, our logic. It is art that is beyond us.1 That we must strive to understand. And when we do, we discover the beauty of sacrifice. The very thing for which God came.
God in flesh is the fulfillment of beauty. Physically he was nothing to speak of… at the end he was stripped and murdered. These are things we shun. We seek success. We seek one to fill our boxes. To appear in control and be powerful. But in the pursuit of these, real beauty alludes us. How beautiful is the love that sacrifices for another.
In 1Corinthians 12 Paul compares the church to a human body. But notice that Paul does not write the church is a body. Instead he writes that the church is the body of Christ. The implication is more than to simply work together. The point is that we should work together as Christ! And that will move the church from commonplace to art. Something others may not understand, but they know is beautiful.
The key to our work is sacrifice, rather than protection. To love others, rather than just ourselves. When the world around us finds our boxes empty. Our physical features bland. But our heart overflowing with risky love… their eyes will be opened to the masterpiece of God.
1 If you do not consider God an artist... pause to let your senses take in the world around you. Then ponder that the amazing details in your circle are played out across the world. Across the universe. Nothing repeated or the same. Each place full of creativity. Creation is art.
Join us this Sunday as we continue to dive into the water of the River in Ezekiel 47. This week we focus on verse 11, when the people of God separate from the world. I hope you will join us at 10:30 in person or online.
Following CDC guidelines our Covid Restrictions are changing. Masks are not required for those who have been fully vaccinated. You can learn more here.
Youth Retreat: if you or someone you know is interested in going with us to Lake Maurer, send me a message. It is going to be awesome! It is even more than just an epic t-shirt! 🙂 Click Here to Download Signup