Get Out!Posted: September 19, 2012
This past Sunday was National Back to Church Sunday. In preparation, our church sent letters to folks we had not seen in a while, inviting them to join us on Sunday morning for worship or Sunday evening for a special event. One of those letters generated a call from the recipient’s son to the person who wrote the letter saying that his mother was in critical condition in the hospital. The individual who sent the letter took his kids and later his wife to visit this woman in the hospital to pray with her and her family, something they had never done before, but felt they needed to do. On Sunday morning, my pastor related this story and made the comment, “This is a good reminder that Christ calls his followers to go into the world, not invite the world into the church.”
After hearing the statement, I wrote down “belief vs. relationship.” Yes, I believe the Bible to be a true account of the Judeo-Christian heritage. I believe the miracles, I believe the resurrection, and I believe and look forward to the day when the unfulfilled prophecies will be fulfilled. All that belief doesn’t amount to a hill of beans unless I have a relationship. When you read the Bible, have you ever looked not at the “do’s and don’ts” but at the relationship that is unfolding between a people called out to be God’s chosen people, set aside for a special purpose as well as those called to be the bride of Christ? Yes, this romance novel has it all–murder, adultery, forgiveness, backstabbing, petty arguments, forgiveness, betrayal, drunkenness, forgiveness. Thankfully, God continues to forgive.
I also wrote down “love of self vs. love of others.” Who does today’s church love? God calls us to love others, even our enemies. The early church gave everything they had to help their neighbors. Today, we spend money protecting everything we have–locks on the doors, home alarm systems, insurance in case someone gets past the locks and alarms. Will O’Brien once said “When we truly discover love, capitalism will not be possible and Marxism will not be necessary.” In a political season filled with rhetoric and hate and scare tactics, how true is that statement? Imagine the impact if every person who calls themselves a Christ-follower will just give one hour of their week to show love in a tangible way to someone who does not know the ultimate love of God?
What would happen if, instead of “National Back to Church Sunday,” we had a “National Get Out of Church Sunday?”