Keep Watch!

Today's verse: Mark 13:32-33

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”

Keep watch! But for what? This might have been the question of Jesus’ disciples after Jesus warned them to keep watch for his return. Often, we forget that the disciples did not know the future events of Jesus’ life that might be common knowledge for us. Jesus returning…before he even died or left…that makes no sense! Jesus often speaks past our reality and only speaks to our faith. The faith we need to keep following him.

At Agape, we talked about how to look past our reality of violence and brokenness in New Haven plus our 2000+ years of waiting for Jesus in order to actively wait for Jesus to come through promoting the peace of our city. After all, it’s not that we completely forget to keep watch. It’s that we slowly get distracted…by wealth, by romance, by addictions, and more. These things (just like the astounding buildings on Jerusalem…the distraction that begins Jesus’ exhortation) distract us from keeping watch for someone who constantly empowers us to love, serve, and promote the peace of our city.

Please pray for our Agape community as we seek to wait for a God who loves us and who desire us to love others instead of giving into other distractions that will keep us from that path of help and health.


The Greatest Commandment

Today's verse: Mark 12:29-30
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'"

A teacher of the law had just asked Jesus which of the commandments was the most important. The verse above was Jesus' answer. Definitely a clear and direct one. Around the circle in Agape today we tried to answer two additional questions: what does it mean to love the Lord with everything that we are, and why would we even want to do that? One of the answers that surfaced brought us back to the parable of the tenants at the beginning of Mark 12.

The parable describes God as a vineyard owner who is gracious and merciful beyond reason. Some might even describe his character as naive, foolish, or ignorant. Certainly, God's response to the evil tenants in the parable was probably very different from what ours might have been, as we often look for opportunities to institute justice or to "make things right." in our lives and in this world. Instead, the vineyard owner sends his only son, revealing his desire to pursue us to the point of death, to the point of divine sacrifice.

This God is the one that desires our hearts. And once we offer that heart to him, he starts the work of healing it. He takes our heart, our soul, our mind, and our strength and refines them all. Do you want to be in relationship with a God who sees the heart, offers his son, and only desires intimacy with us? Come as you are. At Agape, that's what we're trying to do.