A Real Chance to Follow Jesus
Circle of Hope is a practical opportunity to express the love of Jesus. In order to fully engage with the opportunity, we often have to make our “yes” a “yes,” like Jesus said in Matthew 5:37. Making a commitment in this day in age can be a challenge, since we have so many options before us. Most of us will move towns, and perhaps across states in our lifetime. We’re no longer as limited by our location. Moreover, we may even switch careers. We might have multiple partners and think that marriage is too limiting too. With so many options before us, making a commitment to Jesus and a local expression of his love might seem impractical or even imprudent.
Chance the Rapper and Postmodernity
Our Cell Leader Coordinating Group met for some Ethiopian food on Sunday night and I overheard a very interesting conversation. The couple was discussing Chance the Rapper. Chance has actually made a reputation for himself of being a Christian. “Chance is a Christian,” he said, “so that’s cool, but when you commit yourself to something, you cut yourself off to other things.”
I think that synthesizes the postmodern problem, doesn’t it? Postmoderns love experiences and they collect them. I know because I am one. They are afraid of missing out. They don’t want their commitments to crowd their options. So they may never buy a home, sign a long-term contract, get married. All of those things have a kind of permanence that threatens their liberty, or so they think.
A Commitment Frees Us
Does a commitment to Jesus, and making a covenant, impede our liberty? For me, the opposite is true. I feel safe when I am rooted in something, and free enough to expand my branches and deepen my roots. Without making a commitment, my faith shrivels, and I think I do too. I end up being enslaved to myself.
I need a Master, I need a Lord, I need to be led. Furthermore, I need other Christians around me to express my faith. I can’t do it alone. I won’t, either. I need connection and intimacy and community. My commitment gives me a chance to be a part of something bigger than I am. It frees me from being subject to my own whims and desires.
Giving Others the Chance to Connect
The covenant doesn’t limit my choices, it grounds them in something tangible, and actually gives me a real chance to express my freedom in Christ. Whether you acknowledge it or not, we end up committing ourselves to a lot of unspoken institutions when we don’t consciously commit ourselves to something bigger. It might be our employer, our family, the government, the invisible hand. I think our conscious choice to follow Jesus frees us from the shackles of the world.
Our choice to follow Jesus is solidified when we can express it practically and locally. Circle of Hope is a provisional thing. It doesn’t need to exist. It won’t exist forever. But for now, it’s an opportunity for people to follow Jesus, and a good one. Your connection helps give someone else a chance at connection. And in our increasingly atomized world, where our own liberty threatens our freedom, we need to connect more to each other and to God. The covenant members hold us together so that we can. They can put a stake in the project; they “own it.” You might not always know who they are, but they are what give us a chance to do the work God has given us to do.
You may want to join them.