Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Love Over Fear | Jesus Holds Space w/ The Chosen's New Wine

Fear cannot contain
what God's Spirit desires
to pour inside us.
It cannot carry
"faith working through love"
(Galatians 5:6 NKJV).
Jesus is calling His followers
out of fear-based ways
of relating ...
There is a new map,
a way beyond 
attacking or avoiding our enemies
— the way of affection.

+ Dan White Jr. 
Love Over Fear

Season Four of The Chosen has been fully released (all 8 episodes) for free streaming, and I would say this season has continued to build on Season 3's beautiful revealing of how Jesus chose strangers and even enemies to be His closest flowers.

In one of the books I'm reading this summer, Love Over Fear: Facing Monsters, Befriending Enemies, and Healing Our Polarized World, Dan White Jr. verbally describes what The Chosen has visually captured with scandalous considerations that all of Jesus' followers — past, present, and future  need to remember, die to, and live into if He is to be our Lord of all of life.

Love Holds the Space

In the selection of His disciples, Jesus gathered
three Zealots who were militant nationalists,
a tax collector who favored the Sadducee party,
six fishermen who lived hand-to-mouth
and were exploited by Roman taxation,
one member of the Sicarii party,
and a wealthy nobleman 
who was linked to the Pharisees.

This is scandalous!

It's like organizing a home church
with a few Black Lives Matter protesters,
blue-collar workers who believe
Donald Trump will fix the country,
a couple on public assistance
while working for minimum wage
at McDonald's,
a wealthy Republican gentleman
who owns an oil refinery down South,
and a member of Antifa.

It's an understatement to say 
these men would have loathed 
being in the same room together.
If it were not for Jesus 
holding this space,
they'd all naturally slide 
into the cultural ditch of
mutual hatred for one another.
He called them into 
the same inner circle,
a space that would demand
something from everyone.

Jesus sits with the progressive  
the Jameses and Johns
who are zealots to see
God's Kingdom restore
justice to oppressed people.

Jesus also sits and shares meals
with the Matthews  
a tax collector who cozied up
to the occupying powers 
(some might consider him
a greedy neocon).

Jesus traveled with them 
in close quarters,
ate with them,
interrupted debates between them,
and modeled to them a love
that defied political affiliations.
With deep affection,
He calls them friends (John 15:15).
As the disciples faced each other
day after day,
ideological and relational differences

Jesus lives and moves and breathes
beyond fear  
He invites us to do the same.

Jesus purposely disrupted the social lines and political boundaries that fear builds between "us and them." Jesus was not supposed to speak to the woman at the well. He is a Jew, and she is a Samaritan  they are expected to be enemies. Jesus was not supposed to show kindness to Roman soldiers, because they were the oppressors who used the sword to control  they were expected be enemies. Jesus was not supposed to spend time with prostitutes. They were viewed as unclean  they were expected to be enemies. Jesus was not supposed to share a meal with a tax collector. They cheated the poor out of their hard-earned wages  they were expected to be enemies.

Did Jesus care about social justice?

Did Jesus care about 
morality and righteousness?

But something more was superior,
more powerful.

The very makeup of Jesus' first discipleship group was a purposeful message about the Kingdom of God  Jesus was starting a polarization-busting movement. Jesus was cultivating a thick space of transformation, rejecting the arrangements that fear creates. When someone offends us, frightens us, votes differently than us, or seeks to betray us, we all feel the drag into polarization  to pick a side. The left-right seesaw is a snare of the Enemy, it is a delusion  reject it altogether.

Jump off the seesaw,
let Jesus scandalize you.  
Jesus is piloting a 
new scandalous space
for the practice of love,
a perfect love,
a whole love ...
the most costly,
risk-taking work.

Fear tells us to stay away  we can only dwell with those who vote like us, look like us, and dig what we dig. Jesus calls this "old wineskins." It is the voice of fear seeking to be the primary container of our emotions  keeping the kindness of God bottled up in our own tribe. So, it communicates with physical and emotional sensations of discomfort, which we don't like to acknowledge as fear. It commands that we live by guttural responses without asking questions. 

We are living in agitated times.
We tend to rely on emotional reactions
rather than contemplative responses.
Jesus points out that "old wineskins"
cannot hold any new wine.

New wine is often still fermenting
so it should be placed in new containers
(often made of goatskins).
When skins are still fresh,
they are pliable and expandable
and can handle the 
active nature of wine.
Old wineskins though 
have dried to a point
that they will no longer expand.
Placing new wine in
old wineskins is a disaster,
"the new wine will burst the skins;
the wine will run out and
the wineskins will be ruined"
(Luke 5:37-38).

Fear cannot contain
what God's Spirit desires 
to pour inside us.
It cannot carry
"faith working through love"
(Galatians 5:6 NKJV).
Jesus is calling His followers
out of fear-based ways
of relating ...

Love Over Fear
+ pgs. 88-89, 91-92

More 2024 Reading Recs:

With presence and peace in Christ,

Rev. Mike “Sully” Sullivan

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