Tonight was what we call the Downtown Christmas Walk in our little burg.
It is like everyone and their dog…literally…we had several customers who brought their dogs in tow…comes downtown the first Wednesday night of December.
Restaurants are packed.
Stores appear to have the same kind of chaotic flow of bodies as salmon swimming upstream in spawning season.
It is a madhouse and so fun…especially since I get to stay behind the counter and just ring up sales.
For an introverted extrovert, this is a little slice of heaven….short and friendly conversations with a nice, safe bubble of space around me.
Before the festivities ensued, I was able to slip away for a break between my regular shift and the crazy, busy evening event so I visited a new coffee shop in town and here is a glimpse of the thirty minutes of haven I soaked in.
The owner happens to be a Christian, and yes, there were Christian Christmas songs playing softly…but that was the only evidence.
No crosses or “Jesus and coffee are my jam” signage.
Even in the absence of physical evidence of typical symbols of Christianity, the atmosphere of the place whispers Christ
Right down to the way in which I was served my tea…as the owner quietly and humbly knelt and moved a small plant to one side on the low table next to my chair so he could rest my tray of tea and honey within reach of me as I worked on my computer.
I am blessed to know many Christ followers…disciples…who carry about them a sweet fragrance reminiscent of the character of our Lord.
They manifest Christ with their very lives.
And that is what Jesus is speaking of in verse 6 of our visit to John 17.
As He prayed in the garden He spoke these words…
I have manifested Your name to the men You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
Manifested…Jesus didn’t just teach about God…
He brought the character and attributes and nature of God the Father alive through His life…
so that those around Him could know God by knowing HIM.
God drew people … and still draws people…out of the world and to Himself through relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus also credits the disciples with having kept God’s Word.
Eugene Peterson words it this way in The Message:
I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place. Then you gave them to me and they have now done what you said.
One of the commentaries pointed out that this is a generous credit given by Jesus to the faithfulness of a group of men that in a few short hours would be running in fear from the Roman legion and one of them would deny three times having ever been around Him.*
What a beautiful picture of grace.
GRACE…that covers over our sin and shortcoming because He knows He is the One who will perfect us in perfect love.
We are given to Him…to Jesus.
We are taken out of the world and chosen and given to Him to belong to the Father through Him.
And because of the gift, we live lives that manifest grace and peace.
By bowing down and gently serving others.
are the hands and feet of the Body of Christ in this world <3
*David Juzik from an article on blueletterbible.com entitled Study Guide for John 17