As a follower of Jesus, we seek to model His life by attending to His teachings and deeds (see Acts 1:1). Jesus can be found having meals with disciples and giving them instructions for following Him and about the Kingdom of God. After He suffered and was raised to life, Jesus made it a point to reveal Himself to the disciples and show them convincing proofs that he was alive (Acts 1:3).
As He is about to ascend, Jesus comforts the disciples with a new promised gift. I’ve noticed that some people, at the end of their lives, gift others with words of blessing, guidance, or a loving assurance. This shows a Figure that is aware of the human condition–our propensity to grieve loss. The Christ Figure shows a deep compassion for His followers.
I think in a cultural setting where we feel pressed by violent acts (the recent Texas church shooting), we seek answers to why this type of violence is increasing. I don’t have sociological or psychological answers as to why this phenomena is occurring but I do believe that Scripture teaches that God is near us during our losses and is seeking to gift us in our times of deep loss [note: this is not a post to try and figure out what is happening with mass shootings].
I also believe we struggle, as a culture, to create a sense of long term community with others. We seek our own comfort in our air conditioned homes, DIY projects, TV/Streamed entertainment, and any other hobbies we might have. But we don’t make room for intentional shared meals with others so as to build community and connection. Yet Jesus is constantly doing that.
Lastly, Jesus promises the empowerment and gifting of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses in our community, city, and world. Jesus teaches and demonstrates a life of wholeness that always involves inner/relational/communal wholeness. As Miraslov Volf says,
A good nation…
Is one in which all inhabitants are given the conditions, opportunities and the tools to have a flourishing life – that is, a life of righteousness, justice, peace, and joy. (via FB post)
The empowerment of the Spirit and the life Jesus models is a culmination of something I long for. I can spend the time to host a monthly community dinner, have others over my house that I won’t necessarily benefit from (Luke 14:12-14), and serve others as Christ would–with dignity, respect, and love.