10th March 2019

Jesus The Demolition Artist 

“The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness.”
Proverbs 11:5 (NIV) 

Whether on TV or in person, we’ve all seen demolitions. People usually stand by and observe; there may be a news camera or two. Then an abandoned building jerks, smokes, buckles, quickly becoming dust. One of the most famous demolitions in recent history was the leveling of the Pruitt-Igoe housing development in St. Louis, a symbol of the philosophy of the time, known as modernism. This held, among other things, that human beings are hyper-evolved animals that simply needed the right conditions to thrive. The idea of a God, or a higher being, was considered passé—a tool of former oppressive regimes and nothing more. Modernism held that we are rational animals, and our emotional, relational and social needs depended mostly upon our physical needs.

The Pruitt-Igoe housing project was an attempt to bring these principles to life. It was to be the best of modern architecture. It was erected in one of the worst neighbourhoods in inner-city St. Louis. The residents moved in, and the country waited to see modernism at work. But within fifteen years, crime, racial tension, and poverty were rampant, making Pruitt-Igoe a terrifying place to live—and a complete failure. Many philosophers and thinkers view the demolition of Pruitt-Igoe in December 1971 as the end of modernism. This modernist way of understanding shaped, and was also at the root of, the bloodiest century in human history.

At this time of the year we think about the beginning of Jesus’ career in ministry. Especially we see Jesus demolishing several ideas about what God’s long-awaited deliverance was going to look like. He demolished human expectations of how we thought God should arrive on the scene. Here he is baptised rather than baptising; here he is making wine with a miracle rather than something more dramatic; here he is saying that he has authority to forgive sins.

For us today he demolishes our expectations as well sometimes, bringing about what we need in our lives rather than always what we want. He calls us to serve and to love rather than a winner-takes-all mentality. He calls us out of our understanding of him, and our understanding of ourselves. So it is when Jesus, the demolition artist, is at work. Just like the Pruitt-Igoe demolition symbolised the end of modernism, so Jesus demolishes flawed understanding of God and humanity. We see the breaking down of our old self-protective walls of sin and fear so that the real thing, the new creation, can go up in its place.

Prayer
Merciful Father, thank you for setting about our enlightenment concerning you. Because of our past understanding, it requires unlearning first, tackling our misunderstandings. That can be difficult. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen
 

Presented by Greg Williams

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About the Presenter:
The Day by Day each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life,’ (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International. Greg Williams is President of Grace Communion International and lives in North Carolina, USA.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

 

 

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