Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Church: A Shining Alternative to Normalcy??

Followers of Christ should bring unique flavor to this world.
Matthew 5:13
The people of God have always been called to be distinctive in the world—and they've always struggled with that calling.  Jesus, God-in-the-flesh, issued that same challenge to those who followed him—and it was not popular.  

Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that we should be salt of the Earth and light to the world.  In other words, we’re set apart to fulfill a special purpose in this world.  But he also warns us that once salt loses its saltiness, what good is it?  Likewise, he says that light doesn’t do much good if you hide it from viewMatthew 5:13-16.  

In other words: Once we start blending in, we’re just like everybody else.

The way of Jesus was a different path that led to a radically different way of life from that which the Roman Empire considered normal.  It was not an easy road for those that chose to follow Jesus, so much so that many chose not to walk it, or turned away not long after  they started—John 6:60-71.  Walking that path would soon bring Jesus and his followers into conflict with the powers that ruled world around them—who had a vested interest in preserving the status quo.  Refusing to waiver from that path and submit to those powers ultimately cost Jesus—and many of his early followers—their lives.  Jesus' call to his followers hasn't changed in 2000 years.  We are still called to stand against the grain of the dominant culture of our day.  We are still called to oppose the “empire” when necessary and to model a different way of living—to show the world it's actually possible!  

If it sounds strange to you to think of yourselves or your church this way, it may be a sign of how much we've accepted the normalcy of the world as Christians—often giving it our blessing and walking lockstep with it without even realizing we've done it.  
Followers of Christ must be willing to stand against the flow. 
Romans 12:2

While we are certainly called to be in the world (i.e., we are to engage it as opposed to being withdrawn and hiding away from it) we are also called not to be of the world1 John 2:15-17Romans 12:2.  Unfortunately, I am afraid the second part of that command often gets forgotten.  We want so badly for the world to accept us and our message,  we are so concerned that we don't come across as judgmental or hypocritical, that we end up blending in and losing everything that makes us distinctive.

We can't change the past—nor should we deny it—but we can, and I would argue we must plot a new future for followers of Christ and for Christ's Body—the Church. We have to figure out a way to reclaim what makes us distinctive in the world—and of course that thing is the way of Jesus.  

Sometimes the first step to change is becoming aware of the problem.  As long as we live in denial, and refuse to admit we Christians have often been part of the problem as opposed to being the solution, we won't really be motivated to change.  However, once we become convinced that we are in fact off course and have wandered far from the way of Jesus, then change becomes possible.  We can begin to adjust our heading.  We can take steps to get back on the right path.  We can start taking evil more seriously (without being paranoid and blaming "the Devil" for everything that goes wrong!), and begin to actively plot goodness in our world.  

The Church can once again become a shining alternative to the normalcy of the world.

1 comment:

liz ekaks said...

Glory to God.This is true

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