But Now…

I was privileged to be a delegate to the World Methodist Conference in Brighton, England in 2001. There I was introduced to many Methodist leaders from around the world. I particularly remember a young native Kenyan woman whose keynote address I reflect upon every time I see the notes in the margins of my Bible that I took the day she gave it. Grace Imathiu was raised in the time of the European conquest of Africa. She told many stories of how people unfamiliar with her culture would try to tell her family what was best for them. Colonialists, be they politicians, businessmen or missionaries, seemed compelled to bring the “savages” up to speed. Within this framework, Grace became a student of the Bible. Her grandfather was schooled by missionaries and began a legacy of ministry which has now encompassed three generations since she entered pastoral ministry.

Grace spoke about the “but now” of Scripture from Romans 3:24. Thousands in attendance at the World Methodist Conference were blessed as she impressed on us how critical these two words were in Scripture. They alert us that a change has occurred, that things aren’t the way that they were. Grace said the “but now” frees us from our history. It tells us the past is no longer in effect. It cannot be our judge, or our standard or even our life map anymore because something new has come and changed all the rules.

In Romans 3 Paul was telling the church that in the past there were two classes of people: Jew and Gentile. The Jews had one set of rules. The Gentiles had another, but when you get to verse 24 he says, “But now, we are all judged the same…through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Paul elaborates in verse 29, “Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles only? Yes, of the Gentiles, also.” Jews are not privileged, says Paul. They have no good reason to believe they are superior to Gentiles. Christ has changed all that.

Today as I was going over Colossians 1, I couldn’t help but smile as I shouted out loud verse 22 “But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation” and verse 26 “the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people.”

This Monday of Lent I am sharing with my Multitudes on Mondays community about being “but now” people. He died for us. He rose for us. His blood saves us. We live forgiven of our sin, beyond the judgment. We live in the “but now” freedom of His grace. We live in the palm of His hand. And I am truly thankful:

#79  that His mercy and grace makes me able to say, “but now”

#80  that Shelly’s eyes are healing

#81  for my husband’s brother who stayed with my husband this whole past week after their mother’s death and was a real comfort to us all

#82  for friends who really care: at church, at work, in cyberspace, in the everydayedness of things

#83  for friends who you never hear from until you are in trouble–then they are there, seemingly coming from thin air

#84  for lessons learned on how to comfort

#85  for the perspective of time

#86  for the Word made flesh

#87  for being paid for work that I love

#88  for the few of you who read these words and share your hearts with me

#89  for wonderful children and their families who contribute to the world and live to lead others to Him

But now,

I must make lunch,

Dawn

God bless you!

Advertisements

6 comments on “But Now…

  1. I didn’t know that you were a celebrity Methodist Dawn. I’m not worthy… 🙂

    And the mystery revealed – IS – now. Now just to live in it – live in Him. And my fave is
    #82 for friends who really care: at church, at work, in cyberspace, in the everydayedness of things (I’m connecting more and more in this year so named – and I’m really glad we “met”)
    Thank you for this. God bless and keep you and all of yours.

    • Ah, Craig, no celebrity. I just happened to have the money to fly there. Love those quest houses in England…so economical and great for networking with others. You might want to try it, if you never have. My dream is to backpack Scotland, before my back cannot carry the pack! Now would be a good time…hmmmm.

      Thanks for stopping by, as always. His best to you, Dawn

  2. Dawn, what an interesting story! The colonialist aspect stood out to me. It made me wonder how I try to colonialize others without realizing it. I know how I have felt when others had ideas about what was best for me and what my future should include or look like…and how that felt. I still live within a very strong influence of that so perhaps that is why it resonated.

    “But now” really is a freeing statement. Sometimes I can lose sight of how to live ‘but now’ in the midst of some of the oppressing aspects of my life. How does one separate from oppression, etc., while in the midst of it? It is somehow an internal freedom-one which I wish I could maintain a constant grasp of during the deeply dark oppressive times which I am in the midst of. I am not alone in experiencing dark times-I know-this isn’t a plea for pity. Growth can’t be sidetracked by pity for that is surely what happens. Yet, there is a place for true wisdom and insight-for the vision without which the people will perish. Thank you for the things you share here on your ‘front porch’; they cast sunlight into the shadows.

  3. A.,

    A thought occurred to me as I read your incredibly well-written reply. How do you think of such phrases as “wisdom from your front porch” and “they cast sunlight into the shadows”? I long to write like that.

    Anyway, back to my thought for you (before I lose it). Nelson Mandela, while imprisoned in South Africa, came across the poem Invictus by the English poet William Ernest Henley

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds and shall find me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

    It strengthened Mandela during his time of imprisonment and he was known to have repeated it to other prisoners during trying times. Although it is a poem of self-mastery, I find it encouraging, nonetheless. With Christ in me, I can stand. He is the “whatever gods may be” to me and He is the One I think of for that phrase. I do not know why this came to me as I read what you wrote, but I hope it is what God wanted me to say to you. I think it speaks of the internal freedom about which you write. The 2009 movie Invictus starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon portrays the role of the poem in Madela’s life quite beautifully and also shows how one man dealt with colonialism in one African country. Now there was a visionary!

    One of the verses from the Bible that I am memorizing this week is Colossians 1:27 “…God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Christ in us is the hope of better things ahead. It’s His promise to those of us who are “but now” people.

    Prayerfully,
    Dawn

    • Thank you for this, Dawn. I, too, watched that movie when it came out and wondered how it worked for Christians. As you point out, it does, when Christ is ‘whatever gods may be’. We do have a choice in our life’s direction. Thank you so very much, Friend, for this encouragement and insight.

      As for words and writing, yours have always seemed so complete that I never gave any thought to them needing to be different. Yours are full of groundedness and truth-a combination so often in short supply. I love reading what you have to share!

      (I received in the mail late last night, Bold Love, and though I have only read a few chapters thus far-I am finding it very, very interesting. It goes beyond the writings about boundaries (by Cloud and Townsend) that I have read and learned so much from until now. I admit I jumped to the last section about loving evil people, fools, and regular sinners, because these things are very real in my life right now, but I also can’t wait to begin at the beginning and read through. I will share with you then, what stood out to me. Would love to hear your thoughts, too.)

      Thank you, dear friend!

  4. Thank you, Dawn!!! Oh how I need BUT NOW. I knew that. But I forgot. Big time. Now I will meditate on Romans 3 and Collosians 1 tonight. Now I will remember and give thanks.
    And your sweet words in your last blog’s comments about my encouragement bolstered me when I needed it and now you have encouraged me (and OTHERS!!) Oh what a blessing you are and I love the way you and others take time to comment back to your commentors. 🙂 I’ll have to again learn from my youngsters!
    But now. But now.
    NOW.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s