When Jesus spoke of the rule of law, he always did two things. First, he always embraced the law. Second, he enhanced the rule of law with the “rule” of love. In Matthew 5:38-42, Jesus cited the “law,” both scriptural and social. In fact, Jesus’ message to the people was to stare the law in the face. When “slapped” with the ultimate in a degrading insult, a backhand across the face, Jesus doesn’t completely “opt out” of the “honor game” by telling us to slink away. But he also does not advocate striking a blow back. Instead, Jesus says look your accuser, your attacker, right in the face. When slapped in the face, don’t about face or save face or face off; go “face to face.”
Did you see it? Jesus isn’t asking us to “lose face.” Jesus isn’t looking for a way we can “save face.” Jesus isn’t advocating we “face off” in battle or “about face” and run in retreat. No, Jesus asks us to look our “neighbor” in the face and shine with God’s perfect law of love.
It’s time to “face” the music. It’s time to look ourselves in the face, to look our culture in the face, and demand better of us all. We live in a “Facebook” culture. But it is also true that the more time we all spend on our electronic “Facebook,” the more interface, in-your-face, face-to-face time we ache for and desperately need to embrace.
On our Facebook accounts we can create an image of ourselves that we want others to see. We can filter out aspects of our lives that might be embarrassing, uncomplimentary, or just “too much information.” We can post, only the most flattering, pictures of ourselves. We can twist facts or even create complete fictions!
Here is the best suggestion for a TGIF World (Twitter/Google/Internet/Facebook): the more Facebook, the more face-time. Let me put it another way: the more Facebook, the more face-to-face, in-your-face, the more we depend on cyberspace face-offs and virtual face-lifts; the more real “in your face” time we need to make in our lives. Making “face-time” with friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, takes away the electronic filters that hide us or protect us. It is face time that makes us vulnerable, that makes us real, that makes us human.
Jesus is the human face of God. Jesus is how God finally made face time with the world. The Bible is our Faithbook that reveals God’s face. But the “face” God revealed in Jesus went beyond an identity that could be “gained” or “lost.” The “face” God revealed in Jesus went beyond any structures of social status. The face God revealed in Jesus was the face of love.
In the Bible, the relationship between God and God’s people is about “face time” not “Facebook.” As Jesus stands before God in prayer, his heart and mind and spirit in full communication with his Father; “The appearance of his face changed” (Luke 9:29). Jesus’ true identity was revealed as God’s glory came face-to-face with Jesus’ humanity.
Jesus, the human face of God, came to reveal the true face of God, the Creator of all things. And the true face of God is the face of love. In a Facebook world, the words people most need to hear, face-to-face, in-your-face, are God’s face words: “I love you.” Is your face a particular face of that Face? Will you show others the true face of God in your life?
The people of Chandlers Chapel UMC and Duncans Chapel UMC invite everyone, searching for a church home or who are simply searching for that missing piece in their lives, to join with us on Sunday morning to find the Spirit of God and the Truth of His Love. Duncans Chapel worships at 9:45am and Chandlers Chapel worships at 11:00am. Chandlers Chapel also has a growing Youth Program and Adult Bible Study, Sunday evenings at 6:00pm. From our family to yours, please join us as we seek out God through the Holy Spirit.
Pastor Randy Nielsen