Identity that communicates
My Twitter strapline is: "Speaker, writer, coach on being a disciple of Jesus and relating to the wider community".
I'm a Christian minister with a double focus: watching and walking with Jesus, in a very real relationship. And learning to see the world of people that Jesus died for with His eyes.
Not for me a religious box, religious practice or religious isolation. I see the Lord working in His church but I often see Him more clearly working outside His church, in and around people who don't know Him and don't recognise Him.
That's a bit like the story of Jesus after the Resurrection with two followers who were walking out of Jerusalem on the road to nearby Emmaeus. He (appearing as a stranger) explained to them all that had happened over that past few days, with Jesus of Nazareth being arrested, subjected to a mock trial and then horrific death on a Roman cross. They were in shock, and this stranger explained to them how it had been foretold and why it had to happen.
Only later, when they shared an evening meal, did they realise who had been walking with them.
Jesus is interested in people who are not yet at all interested in Him. He draws near to people who are spiritually quite distant. And sometimes, they catch a glimpse... they begin to recognise... and ask questions. Who is this?
Often His way of drawing near to people is by having us draw near to people. Is that a poor substitute? If we are filled with the Holy Spirit and in a close relationship with the Lord who is also the Spirit, the presence of Jesus in us will touch others. The human ordinariness that people see make us approachable – but with a particular warmth.
Jesus is seeing the world of people that He died for, who (for the most part) have so little idea of who He is or what He has done. Yet, strangely, we are closer to these people than He is. That's the partnership. Can we begin to see the people around us with His eyes?