445 S. Mary Ave. Sunnyvale, CA 94086 | 408 736-3120 | Questions? email becky@crosswalkchurch.com

Strangers But Not Weird

Strangers But Not Weird
So Bethany and myself have the fun experience of moving house this Saturday.Packing tape, bubble wrap and boxes that are way too heavy to carry!With three kids living under our roof - time to get a little more space (which thankfully is more affordable in Fresno than in Sunnyvale!)The moving truck arrives on Saturday morning and we move out and move in the same day.The fun of a new community, new neighbors, new home smells and ...a new mortgage (ugh).
This will be my fourteenth different home.My dad has only lived in three houses his entire life.
If I arrive at church on Sunday with no shoes on or with only half a sermon ....... some stuff must have got lost in the move!
(And - sorry darling for leaving you on Sunday to unpack stuff alone as I head to Crosswalk ...but it means we have Thanksgiving together in our new home!)
I'm sure many of you have moved and know the experience.Familiar is replaced with unfamiliar.Relying on the GPS for driving simple errands.Yikes ...what night do we put out our trash bins?
Moving house.Being uprooted.Becoming strangers in a new community.
Our home move, along with being around Sunnyvale in a coming and going sort of way, got me contemplating a Biblical text.1 Peter 2 vs 11 says:"Dear friends I urge you as strangers and aliens in the world to keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul, and maintain good conduct among the non-Christians so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears."
Strangers and aliens.
That’s an interesting phrase.I think it's a disposition the evangelical church has moved away from.We try to be integrated and a part of our community.We reach out to partner and serve. we seek to be present in our communities to share the love of Christ.But Peter says ....be "strangers and aliens."One modern translation removes the words 'in the world' and leaves us seeing the passage as referring to us being strangers and aliens to bad desire.But that's an overreach in translating.Peter is clear that we are to be "strangers and aliens in the world."Paul would talk of our 'citizenship being of heaven' and we 'do not conform to the patterns of this world.'
There is a stance, a posture we take with regards to the world that is that of stranger and alien.That posture sees us behave in distinct, counter cultural ways that cause people to see us as different, "a peculiar people" (1 Peter 2 vs 9) ....and mysteriously, maybe miraculously, it is that posture that will cause people to glorify God on the day he visits them!
Got me thinking of moving into our new neighborhood.How can Bethany and I act differently, peculiarly, as strangers that will turn people towards glorifying God. (and no - my peculiar quirks don't count!)
Gets me asking questions on the posture of Crosswalk and Crosswalkers to Sunnyvale that will do the same.
it confirms for me that the Christian life is a tension life.We live in the tension of being in the world but not of it.We live in the tension of loving the world while also hating it.We live in the tension of gaining favor for the Gospel while allowing the Gospel to convict and judge.We live in the tension of loving our neighbor while acting as strangers in our neighborhoods.
This is not easy.This has led to weird Christian living by taking both to extremes.But when this is held in a Christ honoring way .....a beautiful redeemed life emerges that miraculously convicts and saves at the same time!
This is us "dying to sins and living for righteousness" as Peter goes on to say (1 Peter 2 vs. 24).May this Thanksgiving season cause us to be 'strange' neighbors! ...and again ...not weird neighbors!
Gilbert

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