Over the long Memorial Day weekend our household was fortunate enough to host one of my college roommates and his family as they came to visit the Olympic Peninsula. It had been nearly ten years since they last ventured up our direction, and we were excited to share some of our favorite scenic destinations as well as show off all the great improvements to downtown Port Angeles. In just a few days we managed to play at the newly formed beach at the mouth of the Elwha River, walk around downtown and our improved waterfront, go for a run on the Olympic Adventure Trail, head west to swim and fish at Lake Sutherland, have dinner at a great family friendly establishment, plus trek up to Hurricane ridge as the final destination before leaving town.
Throughout the weekend, my wife and I found ourselves being filled with pride and excitement as we talked about all the great things the north Olympic Peninsula has to offer and the incredible accessibility to outdoor activities we have here. We kept saying how we wished we had more time to explore more because we weren’t able to even scratch the surface of what our community has to offer. It’s a true testament to the majesty of our little neck of the woods, and there are few places like it on earth.
I know a big part of why our friends came up was to spend time with our family, and that’s very important, but it got me thinking about the draw to Port Angeles itself. Our friends commented that they appreciated how we told them about all the attractions and the history behind each one, but it dawned on me that those insights were just the bonuses. The actual allure to this place of beauty was already there. Whether it was planted in their hearts during a visit years ago, something they saw or read in a publication, or just in hearing others speak of this place – the majestic features found here had already made an impact. That’s what truly defines something that is majestic – once you learn of it you have to know more, explore more, get closer and experience it for yourself. Regardless of where or how the seed of knowledge was planted, something is left unsatisfied if you don’t get that personal, physical encounter.
And so it is with Christ - He is majesty, and He draws all to Him.
Peter was an eyewitness to this incredible truth and was inspired to write of it when he said, “We (the disciples) did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice come to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’’ 1 Peter 1:16-17
Peter is saying, “Yes, people told incredible stories and proclaimed stunning things about Christ, but those were not what cemented the truth of His majesty in our hearts. Instead, we were drawn by Him and witnessed it for ourselves!” In the same way that God put the allure of the Olympic Peninsula into this land during creation, He placed majestic qualities in Christ so people would be drawn to him.
In this passage Peter is referring to an event that took place at Jesus’ baptism, in the very beginning of His ministry on earth, but what’s interesting is that the full picture of Christ’s majesty wasn’t revealed until after his death. Christ foretold of this when he said,
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32
God made His son majestic so all would be attracted to Him, but the entire picture of what makes Jesus so incredible is not revealed unless we take into account His life, death, and resurrection. This is why, as a Christian, I must speak of Jesus. I must speak of Him with the same pride and excitement with which I speak of my hometown. I have to tell people about all the great attributes He has, why He was born, why He died, about how His story is so unique, and about why they must experience Him for themselves. And when I do, I have to rest in the fact that my words and actions are only a catalyst, and the true draw remains in the majestic qualities He possesses. He is the only one that can bring satisfaction to a person’s soul and spirit when they realize His life was given in exchange for theirs.
What I’ve just described is why Mended exists. In its simplest form, it is a reaction to the majesty and love of Jesus. In other words, we have been to a place that we can’t stop talking about, nor does Christ want us to stop! His final words before ascending to Heaven were instructions to share with everyone the truth of who He is (see Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8).
Let’s pause here. As I spoke in such high regards about Port Angeles to our friends, it dawned on me – I needed to be sensitive as to not discount their hometown, which they love, in order to elevate the allure of our community. After all, there are several places a person can travel and live that are breathtaking and worthy of seeing. If we are making a comparison between a majestic location and the Majesty Himself, Jesus, how do we talk about Him in a way that doesn’t feel condescending? It can be challenging, especially because we at Mended believe Jesus is the one true God – the ultimate destination.
The way we’ve chosen to share our love of God is just as if we were talking to a visitor about our beloved town: telling of all the incredible things we love and why it’s such a fantastic place, while taking into consideration that many of the people who travel here have come from places of impressive beauty and rich culture as well. Whether they choose to relocate is up to them, and if they do, it will be the result of the majesty of the area and not the words spoken about it. A dear friend of mine and fellow pastor once said in regards to sharing Christ with people, “I don’t want to tear down a person’s house; I just want to show them how to build a better one.”
Do I believe a life lived in relationship with Jesus is better than a life without Him? Absolutely! And will I do the very best I can for my entire life to try to articulate this truth to the people I love and care about? Yes. Does this mean if a person doesn’t believe this, or has chosen not to listen to me, I can’t love them or be in relationship with them? Absolutely not! People’s beliefs and ideals are things they take shelter in; they are the homes they’ve created that have taken time to build and are near to their heart. Only a fool would smash that to pieces in order to get close.
I’ve done ministry for the better part of 16 years now, and there are a few things of which I am absolutely certain. One of them is this: when a friend of mine chooses to enter into a sincere relationship with God, 100% of the time it is because of His majesty and attraction and absolutely not because of anything I said. It has proven to me that the Scripture we read in John is true, that all will be attracted to Christ, and it releases me from trying to do the job reserved for Him.
Because God is the one that does the work in the heart of a man, it frees me up to love people in whatever way His Holy Spirit directs me. In my case, His instruction has been to start Mended. That is why I can start a church that doesn’t meet on Sundays in a large gathering but instead in smaller groups around town. That is why the delivery method of God’s word and truth can be done online and not just from a pulpit. That is why we can use the creativity He’s given us to help our community grow, in all diversity, by starting an art gallery for all to enjoy. And because I know many people love where they came from, tearing down your house to build mine in its place is never an option, but sharing the blueprint is. It’s what we were asked to do.