Sitting here this Sunday morning I was again struck by how young Jesus loved “the church” of His day yet mostly wandered anywhere but the church building.
He taught there sometimes. He stood there occasionally and watched the comings and goings. He even overturned the fixtures and fittings there. But as a ritual of turning up at a set-time … having His own seat … preferred style of chanting (or singing) … preferred version of the sacred texts … volunteering for this or that committee …
I don’t see that.
But I do see that “the church” came for Him. The church came to hound Him. The church didn’t just take-away his membership card. The church needed Him silenced. The church was committed to church attendance. The church nailed Him up to silence Him. All the while preaching “Be like God!”
I wonder …
How many today love “the church” – yet have been taught that wandering is a “lack of spiritual commitment” … that it shows a “lack of spiritual maturity” … ?
Because isn’t the church (building and/or denomination) the real House of God? And isn’t that “living God within you” an interesting accessory. And we, in the church, love accessories (see our catalogue with free delivery on orders over £50.00). But you must learn that God is a serious business – and the House of God is where you will find the real deal (every Sunday @ 10.15am – don’t be late).
So much of what I read and hear about “being a Christian” centres on church attendance and reading the bible (obviously). So much of what I see and hear is about church volunteers (never enough), church committees (God’s movers and shakers), church business plans (see the finance committee report), church five-year plans (ditto), church numbers (ditto), church attendance and giving (finance committee – obviously), church attendance and revivals (ditto – but don’t add that to the minutes), church funding (God will provide if you do first), church budget deficits (woe is us) or surpluses (hallelujah – can I get an amen).
Whereas, the love for church from those who never attend is: “Be like Jesus!”
Be like Jesus. All the time. Wander like Jesus. Watch like Jesus. Challenge like Jesus. Overturn like Jesus. Love like Jesus. Be like Jesus always. Live like Jesus always. Be Jesus always and everywhere with everyone – and if you feel the need to go to church on a Sunday – that’s okay as well, if …
And “they” wander in (ignoring all that they have been told is wrong with church by “them”) and we greet them properly – we embrace them warmly – we even give them a heads-up on the do’s and don’ts (just so they don’t embarrass themselves – or us – next time), and then … they seem not to come back very often!
It must be this digital generation! What was it Jesus said – When one or two are gathered together in my name … (that means we are okay – even if no one comes at all).
Jesus could throw out a well-turned verse. Nothing wrong in that. The one from Biblegateway (on this are you ready for Church Sunday) is this:
“The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” Psalm 33:5
His unfailing love.
Be like Jesus.
I wonder …
Are we (aging) Christians walking talking role models for this “screen-obsessed-digitally-connected-can’t-live-without-wifi-because-living-off-grid-is-not-living-at-all” generation of today? The generation turning their backs on the church – the generation that we – in church – judge as not “being like Jesus” at all.
And might that be because they have learned our “church-attandance-biblically-correct-can’t-live-without-reading-plans-don’t-know-how-we-can-fit-all-of-this-in-just-one-hour-a-week” mantra too well?
Because I also read this today …
“Unless you are happy with who you are, you cannot excel and be the best you can be at whatever you are doing. You cannot enjoy life if you are not happy within yourself. We need to stop whining about people’s lack of commitment to our churches and give them something – and someone – worth committing to.”
That short paragraph is from two different articles.
Can you spot the join … ?