Editor’s Note: To get the free 72-hour rental, visit The Gospel Coalition, download the current episode and enter the code provided. The Aug. 18 episode is “The Church,” and the code is “TGC7”.
For seven weeks, The Gospel Coalition has been promoting a new short film series from the Acton Institute called “For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles.” On Monday, July 7, The Gospel Coalition offered a coupon to watch the first film in the series for free (normal rental price is $1.99 for a three-day rental) and has continued to offer a coupon for each subsequent film in the seven-part series for six Mondays (July 14, July 21, July 28, Aug. 4, Aug. 11, Aug. 18 – TODAY).
“For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles” is a kinda quirky, extremely hipster, theologically rich, artistically beautiful documentary which primarily asks the question, “What is our salvation for?” The series should especially appeal to the millennial generation in its format, look, and quality. If you’re a millennial Christian (or younger), watch it. Even if you miss the “free Mondays” this summer and have to fork over the buck ninety-nine, watch it. It’s worth it. If you’re a bit older and not in touch with the millennial generation, it’s still definitely worth watching for what the series says, just be warned, you might think the format’s a little goofy. Like I said, it’s extremely hipster.
This week, Evan wraps up the series by talking about the Church. The whole series has already been about the Church, so really, truly, this video is a summary of the others, a bringing it all together with one grand exhortation for us to life for the life of the world.
Evan gives us two words. “Anamnesis” – a lived memory, keeping alive of God’s song, like remembering the Passover, remembering the Lord’s Supper. It’s not something you just talk about, preach about, or read or write about; it’s something you live. “Prolepsis” – the not yet now; that the future is already here, already known, in the present, like when you read a book, you have read the past and you are reading the present, but the future is already written, it exists in the present too. This is how the Kingdom of God is … we are living in the present, but the future is already known, and we are to live as if we know the ending – thy Kingdom come.
The Church is the body of Christ and has been given as a gift for the life of the world. The Church is the prolepsis – it gives the world the hope of the “not yet” by living the Kingdom NOW on the world. The Church is the anamnesis – the lived memory of Christ. When we live for Christ in the world, truly live out a Christlike life in the world, we prepare the world for His Kingdom to come, as we prepare ourselves to meet our bridegroom.
Imagine for a minute that you were engaged and awaiting your wedding (or remember it if you’ve been there). That time of preparation for the wedding is a time of joy, of anticipation … you can hardly think of anything else, even as you go along your daily tasks. Is that how we live our lives, with joy and anticipation for the coming of Christ, like we can hardly think of anything else? When the world looks at us and interacts with us, do they see a Church that is full of joy, full of light? One that serves others, even the least of these, with humility? Do they see a Church that is more concerned with the things of God than the things of this world? Or do they see a Church that is living only in the present, chasing after the things of this world and living for ourselves, no different from the world around us? Do they see a Church that is being the light of the world, shining God’s love to everyone outside? Or one that hunkers down and hoards our light for ourselves?
We are called to be different. We are called to live differently. And that doesn’t just mean our politics or our stands on theological issues or the fact that we spend a couple of hours in church on Sundays. It means the way we live. All the time. We are called to live for God and for others. Are our lives focused on serving God and serving others? Are our decisions centered around His Kingdom and His economy?
We must take a deep hard look at our churches and ourselves and ask God what it means to be faithful in our communities, to live for the life of the world.
Kathy Larson is the director of Christian Education and Creative Arts at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C.
Episode 3: “For the Life of the World”: Creative Service