Round Table with Oscar
July 28, 2015
‘Luke’ opens the gospel story, telling us what he has in mind. Listen.

Conscious Salvation

I know that other people have written down from the memories of those who were the first witnesses of Jesus, and I too, have had the inspiration to research thoroughly and report what I learned of the life-changing events that Jesus has brought to us. Honourable friend, I present this careful study to you, so you can build a confident faith and a conscious salvation. (Luke 1.1-4).{{more}}

Is it clear that this gospel is saying: Treat me as a workshop or a studio in which you can become a transformed person, a new creation, a conscious disciple? I find that ‘Luke’ is very aware of the world in which the Gospel operates; its Herods, its sinners, its self-righteous leaders, its foolish rich, its women, its Samaritans and other unrespectables, its power centre in Jerusalem, its upful presence of the Holy Spirit, its celebration/partying when a ‘lost’ one is found, its graciousness towards the vulnerable. No wonder that this gospel writer was inspired to give us a special vison of Jesus Christ and the call to discipleship, crafting our spiritual person, as well as invoking our social and historical awareness, a transforming Salvation Consciousness.

Conscious salvation is scarce among us believers today, perhaps because we do not engage with this gospel in the way that the writer ‘Luke’ wants us to do. We do not enter the workshop under the Master, Jesus, whom Luke leads us to meet.

Squaring the Cross

Let us understand that the cross has two sides, two dimensions. There is the cross on which Jesus was crucified. Dying for a new dispensation. A different construct of the world, a reign of God. That is one dimension. The other side of the cross is ours, the cross that places us and the world on the road to newness when we take it up with Jesus. Both dimensions are part of the kingdom God is building.

Today, the cross is a jewel, swinging on a chain around many necks. For every jewelled cross that we see, however, there is one on a hill in our lives that we refuse to face, much less to hoist up with the fortitude of a confident disciple. On the job, there is a cross requiring us to defy dishonesty or expose the harassment of a colleague; at home, a cross that Jesus wants to bear with us; in church, the praise and worship is uplifting, but the politics is still eating out the fellowship like woodlice. The salvation that we enjoy by God’s graciousness and our faith does not reach out to tackle God’s world. There, Climate Change is a present danger. There, prodigal sons and daughters are struggling with their cyber/bling/gun-reigning new worlds. Our salvation does not inspire us to chop off the personal gains that we look to get unfairly through pull string, corruption and vice. These are real crosses that we turn away from, as we undermine the new creation that the gospel workshop is wanting and waiting to design in us.

Every cross that we pick up to carry, we get Jesus’ help with the load, and an investment is made in our character.

The raw material that the gospel uses to turn out a new transformed humanity in its workshop is expectant, vulnerable and repentant persons and communities. Where can we find this raw material today? Who are those looking for real changes, yearning to fill their lives with meaning and the world with renewal? Are we like that, vulnerable, like children, and hungering for right relations, or are we comfortable and self-satisfied adults, needing no saviour, only a church to worship in as we await the coming one? Just reflect with me concerning the Honourable friend to whom Luke presented his gospel research. The man had position; he was honourable; he accepted the faith teachings (katechethis, or catechism, as we would say); yet he was not too proud to ask for or seek the help of Luke. He was teachable, and Luke shared his love for Jesus with him. Salvation raw material is all around us in our community. Whoever we are, working class tax schemers, the manipulated poor, ‘loose’ women, sufferers, bright youth and respectable and marginalized women. A whole community passes through the gospel workshop to win their Jesus emancipation.

As we enter our community emancipation festival this week, in a time of celebrating jubilant news among the poor, deliverance and freedom for the enslaved, a repentant faith community of Christian disciples is called to turn for salvation consciousness from the gospel workshop in Luke.