Kingdom Principle: Love is found in exchange of action with another.
|Micah 5:2-5a||Psalm 80:1-7||Hebrews 10:5-10||Luke 1:46b-55|
I remember traveling in Europe some 20 years ago and I would go to the exchange my US dollars for other currency – It was wonderful when the rate was in my favor. Where 1 dollar now gave me the buying power of 10. This was tremendous. However the mighty dollar is not so mighty any longer – now the exchange rate makes you feel I may have invested poorly. The Exchange rate of God’s love is always in your favor. However, it is an exchange – you must give one in order to discover the joy of 100. This is true in all of the Kingdom Parables. Love is the only constant of the Kingdom, both now and in the age to come.
This Advent we have encountered Hope, Peace & Joy. Hope declares based on the past, Peace and Joy transform the future, and Love unites all things with life giving action in the present. You cannot love in the past, you cannot act in the future (your present actions can impact the future, but the exchange is in the present). Peace and Joy can lead us to action, but they do not require action. Love without action is no longer love. Peace and Joy are powerful bonds with ourselves and others, love goes beyond emotion to unite action with experience in a way that transforms the present.
What is love? – But that you might lay their life down for another. (John 15:9-14) This is the exchange one life for another.
- Mary laid her life down, that Christ may be born.
- John laid down his life to prepare the way of the LORD.
- Jesus laid down his life that all who come unto him shall be saved.
One who is filled with love, no longer be the needs to be in control, rather in release of control they live loved and give love. As we exchange all this world has to offer for the love of God, we also exchange our life as an act of worship. In this way we are simultaneously filled and poured out – THIS IS LOVE.
In the Scriptures this week we find Mary, the mother of our LORD, singing (rooted in joy) her magnificent from the depths of brokenness. Mary has exchanged love with God, and now the reality is that her “let it be so”, to the Angel, has made here vulnerable to the rest of the world. Micah proclaims hope to the broken amidst inevitable defeat and destruction. To Bethlehem – which only “amounts” to a dollar worth of land – a great exchange shall pour forth. Prophets are not always wanted for they proclaim the truth. The truth this advent is that YES we can celebrate our Savior – YET to celebrate is to be confronted with our need to be saved. This is the great exchange of love. Israel was broken and restoration was alone in the hands of Yahweh – the LORD God Almighty: Today humanity is no different. Jesus came to the earth to deliver the Good News which John proclaimed. This good news is a reversal of fortunes and Jesus did not come to just deliver a message, he is very the deliverer, to whom we must turn.
It is through his suffering and brokenness that the message of transformation was fully communicated. To know love is to be WITH Jesus. When we use obedience (expression of for), offerings (expression of under), principles (expression of over), or even praise (expression of from) as a means to avoid pain and suffering we have missed the point of Love. These expressions can be given without exchange. It is the exchange of love which births life out of obedience, offerings, principles and praise. Jesus has come to redeem and restore His people to be in relationship with him, that they may partake in the exchange of the Kingdom. Is it your will that His will be done? If so the way of Love. And the way of Love is the way of Brokenness & Vulnerability.
- Jesus was emptied (of heaven) and birthed at the same moment.
- Mary surrendered and discovered new life as in her womb.
- John the Baptist turned away from his given path, to prepare the path of another.
- Jesus was crucified and fulfilled (all of heaven) at the same moment
This exchange will draw deep uncontrollable emotion to the surface that is not tapped into with Joy or Peace – in this vulnerability we have ventured into Love. We are to love and be loved. You cannot have one without the other. This is why we must love our neighbor as ourselves, in order to truly fulfill our command to love God. In this way we are poured out and refilled all at once.
It is in this way that Love then is the culmination of such things. Therefore you are willing to give your life as a witness to this love, knowing that it is only through death that true life (culmination of advent) can be found. Therefore in weakness you are strong, in brokenness you are made whole, in persecution you are fulfilled, in hunger you are satisfied. This is the joy and peace of the Kingdom – it never ends.
“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” C.S. Lewis
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