Simon Remark: Seeing the Kingdom Burst into Colour
Simon Remark is a member of Trinity Life and is a part of the Midtown Body Life Group. He’s dad to Kingsley and Naomi. Simon also works as a professional photographer.
I’m not much of a thrill seeker, I’ve never had a desire to bungee jump or sky dive; these things aren’t exciting to me. Ideas excite me. When I read about a new idea, or hear something new in a podcast, or discover a new artist or musician, I can’t wait to share it with others. This year for Lent, I’ve been reading a daily devotional by NT Wright where he talks about the death and resurrection of Christ as the beginning of a revolution — heaven and earth colliding to change everything. In my experience, this collision does, in fact, change everything.
Over the Lenten season, as Christians contemplate the significance of the death and resurrection of Christ, our tendency is to focus mainly on the forgiving act of Jesus dying to “save us from our sins” — just this past Sunday we sang a song that repeated the line “Christ died for me,” over and over, which, don’t get me wrong, is an AWESOME truth. But over the past five or so years, I’ve come to look at it with a different lens. One of my favourite Scriptures I live by is Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” This, to me, is the Gospel, the good news. We spend a lot of time talking about Christ dying for our sins, but rarely talk about being “crucified with Christ.” We are merely observers if we reflect solely on “Christ died for me,” but we become participants in God’s work when we recognize that we have been crucified with Christ and then made alive in Him, and subsequently choose to live every day with the power imbued in us by the Living Spirit. To paraphrase Wright, this is the revolution that Jesus started, a most intimate and intricate collision between heaven and earth, and as a result, everything changes.
A couple of weeks ago in our BLG, I shared that during a recent therapy session with my ex-wife Sjoukje (who’s also in our small group but was absent this particular week), our therapist, Diane, reminded me that when Sjoukje was pregnant with her little guy, Gabriel, I suggested that I would be having limited interactions with him. You see, Gabriel is the offspring of the relationship that had previously broken up our family. Admittedly, this was not one of my finer moments. I said that Gabe has a dad, and it’s certainly not me, so when I come to your house to pick up the kids, it’s just to pick up the kids. Navigating a situation like this still has many challenges and it’s difficult to predict how things are going to play out. On that day, I could only see a future where I had very little to do with Kingsley and Naomi’s little brother. Fast forward a little, and Gabriel is now a year old, and I can say that over this past year, I have grown to love him. And not just because he’s Kingsley and Naomi’s little brother, but because he’s an awesome kid, generous with his smiles and laughs, always curious and always wanting to be a part of the gang. The circumstances are not ideal. I couldn’t have predicted that the situation would play out this way, but the truth is that, at the cross, the collision of heaven and earth changed everything. It’s where, through Jesus, God reconciles all things and makes them new. It’s the revolution that we are all called to be a part of, if we would only recognize that we have the power of Christ in us, and all we need to do is to allow Him to live through us! I now see a future where Gabriel is included … fishing trips with Kingsley, grandpa, and I, bike rides, basketball games, birthday parties, and who knows, maybe even the occasional warm weather winter getaway.
In the song “Look To The Son” (a track I have to believe is an homage to Coldplay), Joel Houston writes, “Salvation / Tearing through the dead of night / See the kingdom burst into colour / At the speed of light.” This is it. This is the revolution Wright is talking about. This is the reason why things played out so much differently with Gabriel than I had expected. When we allow Jesus to live out His Kingdom through us, we no longer live as our old selves, in our old ideas, leaning on our old understandings. Dying with Christ and being made new allows us to fulfil our vocation — seeing the Kingdom burst into colour wherever we go, in all our interactions.
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