Faith is about capturing a vision of what can be and having a conviction that stirs up action to move toward it. This faith also pertains to the pursuit of racial reconciliation. God has a dream for racial reconciliation that has not yet been fully realized, but as we see God’s vision, we can put our weight toward it, leaning into that vision as if it already has occurred.
This is a tag team sermon with Greg Boyd and Pierre Fulford that celebrates the vision that we recognize each year on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. Greg opens with a word about faith.
When we envision something, we hope for it in a vivid, substance-like way. This produces in us the conviction that it will be so. Hebrews 11 is sometimes referred to as the Heroes of Faith Hall of Fame. The one thing these Old Testament heroes of faith had in common was that they had a vision that they believed was from God. That vision created a conviction and an energy in their heart that motivated them to start moving in a certain direction, even though they weren’t certain where they were going.
In that chapter we read about these faith heroes when it says: All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth (Hebrews 11:13).
These faith heroes didn’t experience the things they were promised in their lifetime, but they are commended for their faith simply because they held fast to the vision God had given them, and they were willing to live differently based on that faith. And like the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, we are to act on that conviction by coming out from the masses to walk in the direction of the Kingdom of God. Martin Luther King, Jr. caught a vision of one fundamental dimension of the Kingdom: God’s dream for humanity to be reconciled to God and to one another. This is a key part of the faith we are all called to uphold, protect, and keep alive.
At this point, Greg passes off the sermon to Pierre Fulford. Pierre then shares that it’s enough to see what God has in store, even though we don’t realize it yet. God has a masterpiece in store for our future. Pierre tells us that we are a masterpiece sharing in the master’s peace. This means we each are an icon representing the Creator throughout creation because we are made in a such a way that we bear God’s image. We belong to God and therefore we are his representatives. It’s what we are made to do. Our creation testifies to an artist who creates with remarkable and wonderful intentions.
As icons, we are participating in the master’s peace. God is at work in the chaos bringing about his peace. The first Adam in the garden breached God’s peace and brought forth chaos. Choosing the lie of Satan broke God’s peace, God’s wholeness. The second Adam, Jesus Christ, restored that peace of God.
Greg picks up here and quotes Ephesians 2:13-16:
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”
Jesus is the new Adam (the head) of a new humanity, where all the divisions of the old humanity “in Adam” are done away. By his self-sacrificial love which he demonstrated on Calvary, Jesus destroyed “the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” between Jews and Gentiles and between all people-groups. In this way, he has created peace, wholeness, and harmony.
The job of the church is to dream this dream and embrace this vision, holding fast to this faith. Pierre closes out the sermon by challenging us to apply this in four ways. First, record the vision, to put this in our imagination. Second, proclaim the vision. Third, live out the vision. Fourth, protect the vision. This is the call of the church. These are ways that we can join in what God is doing to bring about the kingdom vision of wholeness and peace. And this is the way we can have faith in the midst of a time that is divisive and divided.
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