"The Beloved Community": The Revolutionary Hope of Christmas
If you’re like me, you’ve probably been brought up hearing a very limited view of what Christianity is all about. Many of us have been taught what USC philosophy professor Dallas Willard calls the “gospel of sin management.” It goes something like this: “Jesus came to save me from my sins so that I won’t go to hell when I die.”
Jesus' salvation also encompasses our fractured human family. Because we have turned our backs against God, we have also turned our backs against each other. Women and men are separated by sexism and machismo; ethnic groups are divided by selfishness, materialism, and pride; multi-cultural individuals are divided against others because of the social construction of race; and, the so-called documented are divided against those without papers because our country desires cheap labor but does not want to recognize the full humanity of immigrants; Jesus came to reconcile all human beings to Himself and to one another. This is what Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. called "the beloved community."
The beloved community is pictured most beautifully in Revelation 7: 9-11 where John states:
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
On this Christmas, may we celebrate the beautiful height, depth, width, and profundity of Christ's love for us. He came to redeem and transform all of God's amazing creation which has become broken because of sin and our rejection of Him and one another. Jesus came 2,000 years ago because He loves you and me, and He desires to draws us to Himself and one another. In the words of Martin Luther King:
“The cross is the eternal expression of the length to which God will go in order to restore broken community. The resurrection is a symbol of God’s triumph over all the forces that seek to block community. The Holy Spirit is the continuing community creating reality that moves through history."
Celebrating God's Beloved Community this Christmas,
P.S., be sure to download your free E-book version of Jesus for Revolutionaries, the book! A paperback version is also available--makes a great gift for your favorite Revolutionary! :)