Food for Thought-I Believe

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I believe that a man was born outside the Greco-Roman city of Sepphoris some two thousand years ago. He was raised in the region of that city and around the village of Nazareth. Other than the occasional trip to Jerusalem, during his lifetime he traveled no more than 100 miles from the place of birth. He lived as itinerant carpenter, teacher, preacher, and faith healer. Among his closest friends were prostitutes, tax collectors, thieves, and laid-off fishermen-the most despised and hated people in his world. Near the end of his life, his teachings caused the political and religious authorities to call for his execution as a political subversive. He was murdered in the most inhumane manner known to humankind.  Yet despite his very visible and public death, his message lived. From what appeared to be the most brutal and appalling death emerged a new understanding of life. Each time this man’s existence and his message was pronounced final,  his life would appear in new and unforeseen ways. Here was life that could not be contained by force, power, or the traditional machinations of death. The people who shared his journey began to speak of life in unique ways. Death, as we once understood it, in all its finality, was no longer relevant to life. The man’s life had freed us to live in a way that allowed us to love others wholly, completely, and unconditionally. I believe in the irony of death giving birth to love. I smile when I say those words.  Our mission is to die to self, so that we may love everyone, and I do mean everyone, as this Jesus loved us. Who needs a mission statement any more complex? I certainly don’t.  This is what I believe.

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