15 May Jesus Christ: Our ‘Absolute – Absolute’
It was Jubilee ’14, the UESI Diamond Jubilee Conference the UESI family met together to consider the cool and exciting theme- Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and praise your Father in Heaven (Matt. 5:16). The focus was on ‘impacting the society’ with the right values and standards of the Kingdom of God.
The conference commenced with the keynote by Rev. Dr Sam Kamaleson who introduced himself as the first secretary of Madras ICEU. His message based on Philippians 3 set the tone for the conference in learning from the past and looking forward to the future. He outlined the culture of the servant leader. The servant’s ultimate goodness is knowing Jesus Christ. Pride of ancestry (v. 5a), pride of orthodoxy (vs.5b), pride of activity (vs.6a) and pride of morality (vs.6b)can prevent us from knowing Jesus Christ as our ‘absolute-absolute’ (vs.7,8).
Jesus is relevant to all cultures, because all cultures are human. But since Jesus is the only one who decides into which culture we will be born, He is the Absolute- Absolute and the culture is only a relative-Absolute. In and through the Servant Leader, the Gospel transforms the culture. The Servant Leader’s final authority depends on the continued, total focus he/she has on Jesus Christ. Paul explains this in the language of the market place (‘gain Him’ v. 8), language of friendship (‘know Him’ v. 10) and language of race (‘attain’ v. 11). The servant’s ultimate goal is to “press on towards the goal for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (v. 14).
“Pressing on towards the goal” demands ‘perceptive forgetfulness’ (v. 13) and ‘passionate forwardness’ (v. 14). We need to let the failures of the past teach us and not terrorize us. Likewise, success should make us humbly grateful, not conceitedly self-sufficient. In short the past should develop us, not lead us into despair. Forgetting the past perceptively, we need to press on with a passion. It is this passionate, positive, persistent quest that makes the invasive transformation of the culture a successful reality.
Apostle Paul also spoke about the servant’s ultimate community (3:17; 4:1). Our citizenship is in heaven and our ultimate community consists of people who await a Saviour from there (3:20). Because of the re-alignment of the priority between God, self and others, the servant celebrates ‘the otherness’ in others and their cultures. But false teachers need to be identified as ‘enemies of the cross of Christ’ (vs. 18).
Dr. Kamaleson concluded his address referring to the power of the cross. The cross of Jesus Christ is Transforming Power; Power that commands and Power that suffers. The concept of power was transformed at Calvary! Power is the defining term of the cross (1Cor.1:18). Power of the cross is the power to decide what to do with one’s own life (John 10:17, 18), the power to consider the means as being important as the end (John 18:28-40), and the power to express responsible hope (Luke 23:34, 46). In situations where people experience the power of the ‘oppressor’ as the only known and felt power, they do not know the power of God working on their behalf. In such situations they do not need the structured ideological power expressed in terms of legal relationships as urgently as their need to experience the transforming power of the cross.
(Courtesy: Our Contact, Feb 2015.)