A Gift for the Church and the World – Sam Lufi

Sam LufiReal Voices.  Real Stories.  Real Answers.  These titles, and the appeal they have for us, point to a key reality: we yearn for intimacy that makes true community possible.  Unfortunately, that intimacy is risky business.  Beyond the fact that those closest to us are able to hurt us most deeply, the very process of establishing transparent relationships requires risk.  In order to move past the level of surface conversation and into the deeper matters of the heart, someone must find the courage to become vulnerable.  When a courageous person reveals something that might provoke rejection or ridicule, they pave the way for others to acknowledge their own most deeply held fears.

Theologically, this is at the heart of the Incarnation.  Facing certain rejection, God became man and, in Christ, revealed His heart in a deep act of intimacy.  Through this revelation, He invites us into deep communion by His Spirit.  When we are emboldened by the Spirit to be a witness – a term which for the early Church was synonymous with martyr – we follow in the self-revelation that Jesus pioneered and join each other in deep communion and unity.

Throughout the centuries, many Christians have talked about the grace that is present in the faith community.  The monastic tradition sprang up as a type of new martyrdom when some felt the church was losing her voice. Undeniably, those streams of Christian community were used by God to preserve the faith for subsequent generations. These communities which preserved the masterpieces of entire cultures were made possible by a few who were willing to make that dangerous self-revelation.

I have been privileged to be part of the Exodus community because it is made up of just such men and women.  By taking risk, you have opened the door for many to join in real communion. In this you are a gift to the church and real witnesses – martyrs – for the cause of Christ. I know that I have been empowered through your examples to share more honestly within my own Church body – to make space for others who are in need of care and community. There is so much real that the church and the world needs to see.  Real voices.  Real stories. Real Answers.

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