My heart cries for the people of God to again become the family, the bride, the body that we are born to be. My heart breaks as we watch the church continue to “do church” but fails to live loved and to give love. There are moments, there are glimpse, there are glimmers of hope. This is not a feeling of anger towards God’s people, this is an indictment of frustration that there isn’t more.
Do we know the love that we have been freely given? Do we know the sacrifice that was poured out for us? Do we know the father’s will to love one another? Jesus said, as he neared His final hours, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
“Love one another as I have loved you…”
What does that look like to you?
The “church” says come and we will love you. But Jesus said to his church “Go and love one another!”
This week I sit and watch a mother cry herself to sleep as her family crumbles around her. There is too much burden, too much weight to carry. A child rebels, a predator seeks opportunity to destroy the youngest, a marriage struggles. Yet the mother cries alone. Why? Is it because the pain of well-meaning advice is too great? Is the loneliness of this burden heavier than the burden itself? Is the pain of a lifetime of abuse, separation, and guilt too sensitive to share? The “church” says come and we will love you. But Jesus said to his church “Go and love one another!” Why do we ask those who are broken to carry themselves to our assembly where we can lay on their shoulders the burden of guilt and shame? Why do we not come to the broken and lift their burden from their shoulder and share their guilt and shame?
Are we afraid of dirtying ourselves? Are we afraid the filth of their pain will stain our perfect world? Are we so afraid of the shame that we dare not get too close? Do we fear that we won’t have the right words to comfort the broken? Is it too hard to say nothing?
Jesus never asked us to say the right words to lift their burden. He said to share their burden.
As I said, over the last few weeks I’ve seen glimmers of hope. I’ve seen a broken alcoholic loved while she pukes the last of the poison from her body. I’ve seen a family open their home and provide a safe haven for her. I’ve seen a family a thousand miles away take in a total stranger so she could care for her baby. I’ve seen a hundred examples through the years of acts of love. The church has a pulse. The hands and feet of Jesus are still moving. But my frustration is that we are far too satisfied to attend a weekly meeting that we don’t concern ourselves with the sick and needy outside the walls, even those who are considered part of our congregations.
Nowhere does Jesus tell us to find the hungry, sick, naked, and poor and get them into church.
Jesus tells the church to find the hungry, sick, naked, and poor and go care for them.
Do you know that quoting a verse does not heal the sick. Do you know offering a prayer does not feed the hungry. Do you know a chapter of the Bible does not replace the hands and feet of love?
What if the church is not the means to an end, but is simply the fruit of the working of the Spirit? What if it takes shape quite easily wherever people learn to follow Jesus
A shared table is a shared life. Jesus broke bread with those he led, and there’s something radically compelling about sharing life, food, drink, laughter, and struggle with those you lead.