While I don’t quite understand Zoe in the syntactical, historical, grammatical sense completely I do like the idea of what I think I know about it. That it’s the God breathed eternal and abundant life that is in us when we are in Christ.
Don’t go all Greek Ninja on me I’m not a Greek scholar but I can still think my simple thoughts about the word zoe.
How does one find it, capture it, hold it in their hand? My sense is it’s in the relationships, those two basic rules of love God, love your neighbor. Super hard because I’m super selfish and I’ve got it planned so I really don’t need help from God or my neighbors so I can love them from a distance and keep on with my plan.
Except when my plan falls apart and I know that I want that zoe, that abundant feeling of friendship, community, and connection with God. A God centered life.
How do you do that without being all religious and dogmatic while driving people away instead of the John 13.35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” kind of walk?
1-I’m pretty sure it’s not driving out of your garage in the morning to go to work and retreating back into your garage at night. SO it might look like having your neighbors over? The weird part is we’ve been inviting our neighbors over on the first Friday of the month for a year now and aside from the Christmas party at my mom’s in December with a big turn out, it seems that most of the neighbors, including my good Christian neighbors want to retreat into their own hole all wounded and forlorn. Or they want a special invitation every single time. Really? How am I supposed to do that when I can barely get it together to have my house clean and food ready once a month with all the other stuff I’m doing? Deep breaths, because it’s okay, the people that want to be there come and we have such a great deep conversation about real things and I love it! I’ve learned so much from them every time we’re together.
2-I’m pretty sure it’s not spending all your time at church “helping” those in need and ignoring your own family. In Mark 7.9-13 Christ warns against not caring for your elderly parents and saying it’s all given to God. Samuel and Eli neglected their children and God struck them dead. That doesn’t sound very abundant and zoe like to me. So, taking care of your own family is loving God and your neighbors for that abundant life?
3-So when your neighbor shoots your dog and their dog attacks your other dog . . . urgh! That kind of jabs a stick into the zoe bubble and when the other neighbors opinion of this couple is, “oh it’s just him, she’s really nice.” I have to say, what kind of nice person lives with someone like that? Someone who’s previous wife had the sheriff come out and rescue her and the kids from his abuse?
4-Working in my garden and growing food, I really feel like that is pleasing to God that it makes him smile. It’s where it all started out. Well, aside from the part about “before the foundations of the world were laid,” but I’m sure you know what I mean. It’s where man started out, tending the garden and caring for the animals. Then if you spend lots of time there you have an abundance to love your neighbors with!
So, I’m at 3 out of 4 turning a problem into a solution to create a zoe life here on the edge of the Zuehl tarmac. The list is longer but the point is we need to start thinking about the first two rules more and how we can apply them right where we are.
I listened in to a group of young men discussing Genesis and it was really interesting because of the various denominations they came from and the assurance that each felt about his piece of information. It reminded me again that it’s really about loving God and loving your neighbor. Not that understanding the historical, grammatical and syntactical Word we’ve been given isn’t important but that it rests on that love.
Well, I’ve got to go to bed so I can love my neighbors tomorrow in the form of a very awesome old fellowship that meets at our house on Sunday mornings. If you’re in the neighborhood come on by, breakfast is great!