This week, we're kicking off our At The Movies series by discovering the truth behind the Hollywood hit, The Greatest Showman! This movie is all about the real life of P.T. Barnum - founder of Barnum & Bailey Circus! While most of society in the 1800's would have shunned Barnum's band of MISFITS, calling them "freaks of nature," Barnum EMBRACED THEM. Similarly, in ancient Israel, people looked down on those who were different. For example, lepers were people who had a highly contagious skin disease and were marked "unclean" - deemed unfit for society. However, if you fast-forward to the New Testament of the Bible, we see Jesus' message to the marginalized is nothing short of REVOLUTIONARY!
JESUS DRAWS CLOSE
In Luke 5:12-15, we see Jesus doesn't just show pity when he encounters a man with leprosy... He TOUCHES the man... HEALING AND RESTORING him! See, Jesus' heart and holiness didn't drive the tax collectors, prostitutes and sick away... but drew them in like magnets! Like P.T. Barnum's rag-tag circus family, Jesus' 12 disciples were a group of societal misfits... and the truth is: The church isn't a museum for saints, but a a hospital for sinners! GRACE is God's radical love for the broken and needy when we don't deserve it and least expect it!
JESUS AT THE MARGINS
Like Jesus, P.T. Barnum saw his circus crowd as people with a unique beauty all their own... and there's LIFE-CHANGING POWER in that! Now, here's my question for us as a church: If Jesus is The Greatest Showman - and we're all broken and flawed yet LOVED by God... Is this how we treat others in our daily lives? Do we reach out to those on the margins of our society... Of our church? Here are 3 things we can each do to live more like Jesus everyday:
#1) Start At The Margins
Instead of building his church with the mainstream religious folks, Jesus reached out to those on the margins of society. Likewise, do you have eyes to see those on the margins and invite them into our church family? Keep your eyes open wherever you go, whether at work, school or with your neighbors! Next, you'll want to:
#2) Embrace The Overlooked
Just like how Jesus invited the lonely and isolated into His inner circle, we're called to treat the overlooked with LOVE, MERCY and COMPASSION. One way our church is doing this is through our Liquid High School Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic. Our 1st group of students just got back TODAY from a life-changing trip where they served with our partners, Handfuls Of Hope... laughing and caring for orphans in Jesus' name! Finally, we'll want to:
#3) Celebrate Unique Beauty
Part of Jesus' vision for the church was to create a BELOVED community that celebrates the unique beauty of those with physical, emotional and intellectual limitations... providing perhaps the one place in the world where they are completely accepted! So, does your life reflect Jesus' kingdom values? In God's circus, we're all misfits who are LOVED AND FORGIVEN by Christ Jesus.... created to do good works and let our light shine before men. As we pursue Jesus together this week and for the rest of our days, may we love others in His name as we're transformed more and more into HIS IMAGE!