Steve and I are on the road again together. It’s not a vacation like the ones we have had in Venice and Rome…and Brownsville, Nebraska. We are not marveling at wonderful wines…or even Nebraska wines. Nebraska wines are not set up with the adjective wonderful. 🙂
We are traveling as members of a church with other members of other churches to be with still more members of yet other churches. And yet, we are all one church, part of the body of Christ.
My travel companion (besides Steve!) is the book “Reversed Thunder” by Eugene Peterson. The same Peterson whose paraphrase of the Bible, The Message, is my favorite. The words he uses are so much more accessible to me. And this book is his reflection on the last book of scripture, the Revelation of John. It is very helpful for me as one who struggles with all the imagery and code, or whatever you want to call it.
And on the way into Houston, I read this:
The gospel is never for individuals but always for a people. Sin fragments us, separates us, and sentences us to solitary confinement. Gospel restores us, unites us, and sets us in community. The life of faith revealed and nurtured in the biblical narratives is highly personal but never merely individual: always there is a family, a tribe, a nation – church. God’s love and salvation are revealed and experienced in the congregation of the people “who know the festal shout” (Ps. 89:15), not in “the garden, alone.” (Chapter 4, The Last Word on the Church, Revelation 2 and 3, pg. 42-43)
And that has been my experience on a journey like this to a place so far from home. I have discovered that the gospel – this good news – has brought me into a family much larger than the one I was born into. This family has shown me by the living of this word in real life and real time, that it is for us all together.
So let us not be separated by geography or culture or language. Let us be together in the word – the Word incarnate. Let us be the body of Christ.
And so we go.
And I will drink to that.