Stances, positions, postures…people in our very divisive and argumentative culture take a lot of them. We are a culture that is obsessed with winning and self. These stances often lead to separation and discord.
Back at Luminous 13 Ian Cron reminded us that from our posture of being in communion with God we should still be available to take stances of hospitality. These stances will actually be part of our communion with God and others. As we live in community with others and accept these stances, or postures, we create zones of hospitality. I like that…zones of hospitality, and in my experience the Luminous Project is just that a zone of hospitality.
Over the past two years as we have sought to converse, commune, and be together at the Luminous Project, I have watched many new friends walk into the space that is the Luminous Project and find a zone of hospitality. I hope that you don’t find that to be a trite simple suggestion because I would argue that in our world it is not. I’ll explain.
One of the key parts to Ian’s teaching that May morning was that a luminous life must take on certain postures. We are forever taking postures, but daily more often than not they seem to be hunched over a screen, running from this thing to the next, slumped back in meetings, arms crossed in impatience, or lying on a couch in exhaustion. Very rarely do we find other people in calm open postures of contemplation & prayer, kneeling in communion, or smiling, arms open for embrace or acceptance. Luminous calls us to be those things and more….even if for a few days. We are asked to plug into a different current, one that while slowing down our motors, opens and enlivens our hearts, minds, and souls. We are asked to take a different posture and this posture(s) is one encourages welcome and the embracing of others with their varied backgrounds, callings, and ideas.
The second piece of Ian’s thought that I found to be key to defining Luminous was the idea of hospitality. Hospitality is made up of two core elements – availability and vulnerability. We must be willingly available to others and this will often require us to be vulnerable. Why vulnerable? We are made vulnerable because in our welcoming we welcome strangers with the aim of turning them into friends. Be sure to grab that…strangers to friends. If there are no strangers…then there is no hospitality. There may be welcome, kindness, grace, or a number of other attributes, but hospitality only exists when a stranger is welcomed to become a guest who hopefully leaves as a friend.
As followers of Christ the “process” is not our responsibility. We are simply responsible for being available and creating the space. We are responsible for being available and as history has shown us maybe even vulnerable. We do this by creating space for the welcoming of strangers so that through God’s working in that space, they leave as closer friends with God and with each other.
I can say without a bit of hesitation that in the past two years the Luminous Project has created this space for God to work, and there have been many moments of beauty, trust, hope, and refreshing as God has been with us. The Luminous Project is a zone of hospitality. It is a place of welcoming where the invigorated and enlivened come to meet with the weary and the seeking. They, with many others who are in-between, walk together for a just a few days to see their lives intertwined and their souls refreshed.
The Luminous Project is built on a posture of hospitality that sees dozens of former strangers enter into its space as guests and leave as friends…friends who not only converse together, commune together, and experience moments of being together, but friends who take these postures back into their places of influence and into the ongoing conversation that is the Luminous Project. Without even having an agenda for evangelism, reconciliation, or expansion, the Luminous Project does all of those things and more as we go out and live the postures that we have practiced in our time together at The Luminous Project.
So why don’t you come and (to borrow a phrase) be our guest!
We would love for you to join us at Luminous 14. You’ll find a space where God is invited to make friends of strangers and where a call to a new posture of life is inspired by conversation, communion, quiet, beauty, trust, depth, innovation, imagination, and yes hospitality.
Hope to see you there. Register soon! The Super Duper Early Registration rate goes up after October 1st.
On Good Friday the Church remembers the ineffable mystery of Christ’s death.
On that day almost 2000 years ago, death…tormenting, indiscriminate, universal casted its cruel shadow over all creation. Death the ever present silent companion of life stood poised, ready and to many that day apparently able to impose its will on even the Son of God. On this day life at its height was shackled.
The Scriptures remind us that God does not delight in the death of the living. It is the result and outcome of sinful acts by humanity. Later writers would say label it “the Devil’s envy”. The same author also writes, “God created man for incorruption and made him in the image of His own eternity- . But ungodly men by their words and deeds summoned death.” One Christian beautifully writes:
Death is an abomination, the final indignity, the ultimate enemy. It is not of God but of men. Death is the natural fruit of the old Adam who alienated himself from the source of life and made death a universal destiny, whose very fear perpetuates the agony of sin. “It was through one man that sin entered the world and through sin death, and thus death pervaded the whole human race” (Rom 5.12). ~ (lent.goarch.org)
The day of Christ’s death becomes the day of sin. Sin which polluted creation from the the breach in the Garden of Eden reached its frightful climax on the hill of Golgotha. There sin, evil, destruction, and death reach their apex and take an apparent victory over God the King. Evil men nailed Jesus to the cross, to destroy Him. Evil without doubt looks on in arrogantly. However, His death condemned irrevocably the fallen world by revealing its true and abnormal nature.
In Christ, the New Adam, there is no sin. And, therefore, there is no death. So to further the “Yes” of the incarnation and Gethsemane, He accepted death because He assumed the whole tragedy of our life. He chose to pour His life into death, in order to destroy it; and in order to break the hold of evil. His death is the final and ultimate revelation of His perfect obedience and love. He suffered for us the excruciating pain of alienation and abandonment – only a loving mother and a few close friends remained by his side.
He accepted the ultimate horror of death. The agony, the loss…but maybe? He from the cross cries out, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me!” (Mk 15.34). A final agonizing yet valiant gasp, leaves his lips – “It is finished” (Jn 19.30).
This cry was at one and the same time an indication that He was in control of His death and that His work of redemption was accomplished, finished, fulfilled. How strange – our death is radical unfulfillment, his death is total fulfillment.
Jesus did not confront death with an array of philosophical theories, empty pronouncements or vague hopes. He met death face to face. He broke the iron grip of the ancient enemy by the awesome business of dying and living again. He chased away its oppressive darkness and cruel shadows by penetrating the bottomless abysses of hell. He cracked the fortress of death and led its captives to the limitless expanses of true life.
The day of Christ’s death has become our true birthday. “Within the mystery of Christ dead and resurrected, death acquires positive value. Even if physical, biological death still appears to reign, it is no longer the final stage in a long destructive process. It has become the indispensable doorway, as well as the sure sign of our ultimate passage from death to life, rather than from life to death.
Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon the Cross.
He who is King of the angels is arrayed in a crown of thorns.
He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery.
He who in Jordan set Adam free receives blows upon His face.
The Bridegroom of the Church is transfixed with nails.
The Son of the Virgin is pierced with a spear.
We venerate Thy Passion, O Christ. Show us also Thy glorious Resurrection.
(Fifteenth Antiphon ~ Ancient Christian Hymn)
Yes Lord, as we own what it means for you to have died and for us to die daily so that we may resemble you, please show us Your glorious Resurrection!
On Maundy Thursday the focus of the Church turns to the events that occurred in the Upper Room and at the Garden of Gethsemane. While there is so much here, let’s look today at three symbols to help us understand the events of the week and the depths of the character of Christ.
In the Upper Room: The Eucharist and the Washing of the Disciples Feet
In the Garden of Gethsemane: The Obedience of Jesus as Praysand Owns His Mission and the Kiss of Betrayal
In the Upper Room Jesus transforms the Passover meal and shows the disciples and us that though the Passover was mighty act, it is a foreshadowing of a great work that Yahweh would do through Christ for all of the creation and its people. The first symbol we turn to is the symbol of the Eucharist.
Many of us know it as the Lord’s Supper, the Common Cup, Table, or Meal, or Communion. The Greek naming though not used in the scriptures, but used very early in our history, gives us an important lesson as to the importance of this shared experience that believers celebrate unto this day. Eucharist is often translated as thanksgiving, good gift, or good grace. In all are a spirit of gratitude as we are thankful for the gift of life, salvation and empowerment that we are given through the work of Yahweh in and through Jesus.
In this symbol we see Jesus’s body given and broken (a life lived to model and fulfill God’s mission) and his blood poured out (blood poured out to cleanse us from our unrighteousness). In the Eucharist we see the ultimate act of service. Even still I wonder if the disciples got it? I honestly think that they didn’t yet. Like a good teacher Jesus presses in further with another example.
The Upper Room also gives us another symbolic gesture as we see the Son of God the very power that holds the universe together stoop and wash the feet of his closest followers. He serves them. A transcendent being who thought out and shaped a planet with mountains and oceans, who one was part of speaking through a burning bush, and who even saved three faithful young men from a fire, bowed and cleaned up one of the dirtiest parts of the very people that he had created. Even though the disciples may not have grasped it all yet they knew that this was way beyond for a rabbi. This should not happen and yet it does. The beloved son of God washes the feet of his followers, his friends, his apostles to the world. What a great challenge to them and us.
Finally, in the Garden of Gethsemane in the middle of the night, the savior though left alone in prayer grieves and cries out to Yahweh as to what lies ahead. His disciples who are close by show that they don’t quite grasp the moment yet. They fall asleep. Honestly, they have been assisted in their collapse by multiple glasses of wine, if this were a normal Passover seder but even still you would think if they “got” what was going on sheer adrenaline would have pushed them forward to aid their leader in prayer. Alone Jesus lies on the ground across a rock; he weeps; he prays; he commits; he is betrayed; he shows his character and commitment to right what has been wronged in the fall of creation.
Emerson once wrote, “What lies behind you and what lies before you, is of little comparison to what lies within you.” What lay within our savior on this day was deep powerful stuff. This powerful stuff is laid down throughout his life as he chooses to be both fully God yet fully human to know our experiences.
AND…This cosmos changing stuff that is still given out today. You’ve got it. When you said yes to Jesus, the Spirit of God moved into your being to dwell with you, to guide you, to empower you and to help bring out in you the image of God that you were created to bear.
Today in our story is D-Day…it’s go day…it’s the day that Jesus says his final yes! The final invasion into the strongholds of the evil one are begun. Sin and death will lose their sting.
Peter would later write that you are given everything that you need for life and godliness through these great and precious promises of God. Today contemplate the symbols. Who can you make sacrifice for? Who can you pour life, love or forgiveness on to? Who can you radically serve? What crazy mind-blowing anti-human thing is God calling you to? I’m praying for us all today to join with the Savior in saying, not my will but yours be done, oh Lord.
It’s a great opportunity at a growing, loving, creative, missional church! You’ll be around awesome people, besides me . We are looking for residents who are passionate about working with teams that lead ministries in these areas…
Students (Middle & High School)
Tech & A/V
You all are good people. I need good people! So if you know a young adult that may be interested, please connect us! AND…please fill free to pass this around and forward on to anyone you know that might could connect a great young adult servant to a great serving church.
Thanks so much!
I see a glimpse of what will be breaking into what is. How about you?
I saw this yesterday in a friend’s office. I’ve seen it before but still think it’s awesome. You can find this plus a longer list at plainlanguage.gov
- Avoid Alliteration. Always.
- Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
- Avoid cliches like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
- Employ the vernacular.
- It behooves you to avoid archaic expressions.
- Never use a big word when a diminutive alternative would suffice.
- Subject and verb always has to agree.
- Profanity sucks.
- Be more or less specific.
- The passive voice is to be avoided.
- One should never generalize.
- Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
- And always be sure to finish what
For years I have signed emails, posts, messages with Peace ~. That’s my hope for everyone that I talk to...simply peace. I’m not asking or praying simply for the absence of conflict but for them to have the full rich abundance of shalom.
Over the years I’ve realized one of the stresses in my world that invades upon my shalom is my ability to forgive. Forgiveness is hard…at least for me. I want to linger in the hurt and work the people over in my mind, to label them, allow them to keep hurting me probably even long after they have forgotten the moment. I want to be better at sending away the hurts and relaxing in God’s lavish love.
And I really don’t think that I’m the only one that struggles with this In fact I know that I’m not. So during this Lenten season as a reminder of my own desire to forgive more freely and more often and as a prayer for all I encounter, I have changed my closing to Forgive ~.
So that’s where Peace ~ went. It’ll be back but only after we spend a Lenten season seeking to
Just wanted to offer up some of the great work being done by friends at RHCC.
Well done guys! Proud of what you are doing!
Remember and Don’t Forget: Bible Stories for Mom and Me
Guy Chmieleski (@guychmieleski)
Due March 11! Shaping Their Future
Rene Cook (@renecook3)
Article in the Tennessean
Chad Jarnagin (@luminousproject)
Jeff Goins (@jeffgoins)
I’m sure, actually I know, I’m missing folks. If you know of more work or resources being done among our church, please let me know! Add them in the comments below.