I have not been able to escape a thought that I have carried for some time now, as I have worked and lived with people of various faiths both within and without American Christianity. Last evening this was so affirmed in my spirit as I listened to Stuart Greaves of the Senior Leadership Team of the International House of Prayer–Kansas City share his thoughts on Romans 11; particularly 11:25-27.
“I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:
“The deliverer will come from Zion;
he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
And this is[b] my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.” NIV
And this translation from NIRV:
“Brothers and sisters, here is a mystery I want you to understand. It will keep you from being proud. Part of Israel has refused to obey God. That will continue until the full number of non-Jews has entered God’s kingdom, then….”
Is there a mystery at work that exceeds our understanding, is the turmoil and division both in the Middle East and in our own nation, a phenomenal mystery that we have all so misread, whether Jew, Gentile or Muslim; and regardless of our ethnicity?
I just finished reading The River by Michael Neale, a convincing story of a sage river guide as he unpacked the mystery of God in his life. If God can write stories as powerful as we individuals profess, should that same powerful Being not also be capable of crafting a story for the nations?
Is the seed of Israel God’s only goal or is that story simply a basis for a larger story that has as its intent all nations, not only Israel but every non-Jew. Now that’s intense!
This morning, as I was playing around on a Saturday with my Facebook Peeps,some who are church professionals, I was entertained though somewhat painful by way of their horror stories of small church skirmishes. Then came a post on group dynamics…the difference in our individual behaviors when silo-ed in groups. I found that quite interesting given what was already percolating in my spirit.
I wonder if the major religions of this world have caused our behavior over time to so be modified that we hardly recognize each other as children of the One, when we observe our behaviors in groups; versus, when we are simply loving each other for who we are.
Just thinking out loud?