Growing up in the church I learned to "Love Jesus", but I never loved Jesus. I only loved the idea of everlasting life and he was the way to get it. Books like Ecclesiastes in the bible are the cause of such confusion. Jesus came to bring heaven to earth through love and grace, while Soloman(The writer of Ecclesiastes) sets his sights on heaven and dares to say that life on the Earth is utterly meaningless. This is an Old Testament Philosophy and must be treated as such. The minute we start confusing the context we start getting side tracked and loose sight of our true purpose. To love the Lord your God and Love your neighbor as yourself(What Jesus said were the two greatest commandments).
Now we are trapped in thinking that heaven is what we aim for and the way to get their is by believing that Jesus died to take away the sins of the world which will allow us to get into heaven. And the only way for the magic to work is to "believe in it". It's a very logical way of thinking. It's input and output; yes or no. Their is no gray area because Americans are western and westerners believe in set rules and systematic paths.
But Jesus never taught that. He never told you that the way to get to heaven was to believe in him dying for you, he said the way was to be like him. Love others unconditionally, love God, and show grace and mercy to the oppressed. Period.
People asked jesus all the time how to get into heaven, and he always diverted their attention back to Love. When everyone of his followers wanted rules and guarantees, he was giving out strict orders to Love each other.
The modern church is incredibly concerned with being "saved" and "saving others" but jesus was only concerned with "love" and "loving others". So no more tracts, no more alter calls, and no more mind games. Just teaching Christ-like love through demonstration.
That is all.
I really think this is great! You have struck at the heart of what it means to be a Christian. Our faith in God and His love for us should drive us to love like He does!
Solomon's wisdom is unflappable. But, the conclusion he comes to in in chapter 12 verse 13. "Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." I think Solomon would agree that it is from this foundation that we find meaning in all of life. If from our faith and love of God we live our life, all of our life has meaning. All of our life, all our duty is to follow the commands that you mentioned above... Love God and Love Others! We can do either of those with every aspect of our lives!
I understand you aversion to the 'saved' attitude. Though i think there is still an important place for that. Your right, whne Jesus came he wasn't just telling people how to get to heaven. He came to announce the kingdom of God that was coming and what that would be like. So the Church is part for the kingdom of God coming, it is suppose to be a glimpse of what the kingdom will be like when it arives.A massive part of that is to love and serve our neighbour in super practical ways. Let however not be drawn away from the most loving thing we could do. 14-17 But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? Romans 10Let be loving enough so that when we invite others into the community of believers they see a reason to do so.
Interesting you noticed this. I've had a sneaking suspicion for a while that, despite the oft-hazy messages in the Gospels, the main idea- the most important thing- was just that. Look at the works of mercy, the 10 commandments, the golden rule, etc. Every parable pretty much was about forgiveness, not being a douche, and going out of the way to love other people. I mean, it's right there with every passage but you're spot on in that it seems like it's seldom mentioned
Ok, that may be a broad generalization and might offend the vast majority, but hear me out.
Today I drove a coworker home, because he didn't have a ride and he doesn't have a car. Upon arival at his home, he thanked me, exited the vehicle and proceeded to slam my car door with extreme force. At that moment I remembered that he slams the door every time I drive him home.
Growing up, my family struggled financially and therefore had two beater cars that you had to slam the doors to close them. This coworker is around 17 years old and has 5 brothers and sisters all living in a small, rundown house.
So, what does this mean? Nothing, just an observation.
(Spoiler Alert: if you don't want to know what happens in Les Mis, go watch the movie before you read this)
Les Miserables (2012) is one of my favorites. The songs are awesome...It makes me cry, but there's also humor...it's just a solid movie. The story of Les Mis is full of grace and redemption, despite the pain and struggle of the characters. You see a tension between grace and judgement playing out through the relationship of Jean Valjean and Javert. These two men have a different way of seeing people.