Saturday, August 05, 2017

When You Walk Out of the Room, Nothing Changes

Image may contain: people sitting and indoor
One of our upstairs rooms, with one of my favorite pieces of art on the wall.
I love the worship song "When You Walk Into the Room." This song is about the presence of God, and how God's presence changes everything. (Hopefully, my new book Leading the Presence-Driven Church will be out in September!)

God's presence is the thematic river that runs from Genesis to Revelation.

God moves towards humanity, and presences among us.

To say that God's presence comes to us means God brings his entire omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, necessarily existent, atemporal, non-spatial, omnipresent, immaterialmerciful, gracious, righteous, true Being with him.

It is stunning that this holy God comes into a room where we, corrupted, failing, finite, ignorant humanity, are. But God does.

God moves towards the prostitute.

God moves towards the sick.

God moves towards the demonized.

God moves towards the cheating tax collector.

God moves towards Jesus-denying Peter.

God moves towards doubting Thomas.

God moves towards sinners.

God moves towards the immoral.

God moves towards the unrighteous.

God moves towards you.

God moves towards me.

God moved towards us.

Moving towards us does not mean God welcomes and affirms our sin. If it meant that, God would not have taken on flesh and dwelt among us. God runs to us to redeem and rescue us from our corruption. If God walked out of a room where sin and failure had taken on flesh, God would enter no room.

Many of the religious leaders, as they watched what Jesus was doing, responded differently. They walked out of the room. They could not believe Jesus drew near to sinners! How could Jesus be at the home of a tax collector? How could Jesus give the time of day to a Samaritan woman who had multiple husbands? How could Jesus allow a prostitute to wash his feet? How could Jesus welcome a prodigal child?

When some of the Pharisees saw this, they left. But when they exited, nothing changed. Jesus was still there. When he walks into the room, his intent is to stay and make his home there, and everything changes, for good, forever.

My first book is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.