This morning I was talking on the phone with a woman from our church about her involvement in some things. She was telling me her history as a singer in a few churches in New York City. Her story included names and places that are familiar to a lot of people. She was raised in Brooklyn and just a few years ago relocated with family to Massachusetts.
One of the striking things she shared with me about her story is wrapped up in her quote to me. She was sharing how much she loved to share the love of God with people. Her words to me were, "I miss being with people with messed up lives." What a quote. What a heart! If anything exemplifies the heart of Jesus, this is it. Being with drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes etc. for the purpose of sharing the love of God is what made her "tick". NYC has lots of people with problems. So does New England. They really aren't that hard to find either.
I don't want what I'm about to say be misconstrued by any means. We have to have tools to carry out the Great Commission. Church buildings and technologies are an accepted means of being culturally relevant and when used correctly are effective. But let's not fool ourselves either. Religious Christianity has built buildings and put the names of the wealthy donors of those buildings on the walls. We've fund raised for our "stuff" so we can have nice carpets and elaborate, ornate furnishings. We've created a religious culture of how to look, how to appear to people, how to be "right". We've drawn lines about who is "saved" and who is "unsaved". We've developed rituals and routines to ease our consciences and for decades all across this country we have had people who "go to church" and are "religious" but aren't living like Jesus lived.
Jesus said, "I have come to seek and save that which is lost." He also said that it is the sick that need a doctor. In other words, he came to be with people with messed up lives. Facilities and tools will never take the place of people who just want to love people back to life. One man goes to work in a Mercedez-Benz while another takes public transportation. The fact is, they both get to work. The vehicle is merely a tool to get the job of "getting to work" done. The problem rests in the person who thinks he succeeds when he has nice things. The measure of success for the Church isn't "how many nice things do we have?", it's "are we making disciples?"
As we purpose to bridge gaps, repair breaches and reconcile people back to God we welcome those who want to see the sick people made well. With open arms we welcome you to help us seek and save that which is lost. We thank God for those who miss people's messes.