If I were to say I love the One Project, many people would probably think it’s because I met my husband there. But that’s not the reason. I love the One Project because it gives all of us permission to put Jesus in His rightful place, at the centre of our conversations.
As God’s timing would have it, I had my first real conversation with Peter, the man who would become my husband, on Valentine’s Day. The encounter was purely platonic.
After the One Project, Peter planned to tour the city of Chicago. As I imagined this friendly Aussie wandering the streets, I thought he needed someone like me, who was from the city and had a bit of street smarts, to accompany him. We agreed to meet up. At the time, I didn’t put it together that our meeting would fall on Valentine’s Day.
As we sat down for our meal, I thought to myself, I hope this place isn’t too romantic and the meal isn’t too awkward. I cringed a little when the waitress offered us the Valentine’s Day menu.
After ordering, we waited for our food. I remember Peter asking me, “Do you mind if we talk about Jesus? Is that okay with you? I know some people only want to talk about Him on Sabbath or during church or at an event like the One Project so I want to make sure you’re comfortable with it.”
I immediately responded, “Of course! I’m happy to talk about Jesus whenever you’d like.”
This conversation is why I love the One Project. It gives us permission, a mandate even, to put Jesus at the centre of our conversations. It gives us the space in time, in our conversations and in our thinking to return Jesus to His rightful place. It gives us the context to understand the core of our beliefs as Seventh-day Adventist Christians. He is the unifying common ground. He says in John 12:32, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.”
Putting Jesus at the centre of it all for the two days of the gathering, allows us to put Him at the centre of it all every day after that. Putting Jesus at the centre infuses our religion with relationship.
The One Project reminds me I need to be more enamoured with His identity than my own identity. More taken with His distinctives than our distinctives. More engrossed with pursuing His spotless nature than attaining my own purity. I must redirect my focus from making people into my image, eating my kind of food, wearing my type of clothing, worshipping my way to making disciples created in Jesus’ image.
It is essential to have conversations about Jesus so we can see Him as He truly is. So we can understand the heights and breadth and depth of His love. So we can let Him step out of the pages of our primary school lessons and be the Jesus that He really is. So He can break the one-size-fits-all mould of demure and quiet, soft and kind, meek and mild and allow Him to own His own identity and reclaim His place of honour as the King of our hearts.
It is no mistake that Jesus identifies Himself as the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. The centre of it all. Let’s unashamedly have a conversation about that.