I was reminded the other day of the children’s song and hand motion;
“Here’s the church, here’s the steeple,
open the door and see all the people.”
What picture comes to mind when we envision the people inside the building? As persons inside the building we talk about the church as being a hospital for the sick and hurting to come for healing, but really, does our minds eye imagine ourselves as ailing, weak, poor and dying? I would venture to say that the picture is one of people who are well dressed, smiling families, and self-sufficient declaring “All is well” or “God is good.”
The reality is fragile glass souls are hiding behind false façades of dense walls denying translucent behaviors. In attempts to conceal our own weakness and need we deny the evident pain in those around us. The churchgoer has turned a blind eye to the deep needs of those they call family as a result of defiance to the command of confessing our sins one to another. (James 5:16) Fear of rejection, denial of truth, unbelief and the grip of un forgiveness threatens to cripple the one destined to be whole. To recognize the splinter in our neighbor’s eye requires us to acknowledge the beam in our own that is evident for all to see.
God has called us to walk in faith together encouraging each other while it is called today (Hebrews 10:25). The commission has been declared to freely give to others the hope and healing of that which we have been given (Matthew 10:8). How then can this be accomplished unless we come in unity together as disciples of Christ that become all things to all people without compromising the character of Christ?
Daily society is bombarded with the reality that the joy and peace of Christ is vacant in the soul of the person wandering aimlessly, large pupil blank stare, flinching at the potential physical connection from another person. For ages the challenge from the pulpit has been to go out into all the world and preach the gospel, but, what happens when someone does invite the (world)masses inside the carefully designed building and the crafted program? What then do we do with those who do not fit into the neat little box of order that has been crafted? How do we respond to the one that dared to step out of the comfort zones to make a difference?
Can we in good consciousness ignore the woes of the world that threaten to spill into the fantasy that misuses (lead others to believe that there is no hardship for the believer) the phrase “God is good, all the time”? Will we continue to barricade full entrance into the sanctuary with the door ajar only allowing the seeker to remain on the front porch with a partial view of what is sacred on the inside?
The world challenges to “make a difference” in helping the world be a better place. I challenge the church to “BE THE DIFFERENCE.” Anyone can show kindness and charity, but only those yielded to the Holy Spirit will have the power of Christ dwelt among them to BE THE DIFFERENCE! It is this difference of Christ’s love that brings everlasting hope and healing.
Scripture instructs us to give first to the household of faith. The world will know how we love by how we treat each other whom we call brother. It is our protective care and service to those among us that will draw in the seeker. The seeker is looking for genuine, transparent people who can testify to God’s strength, in spite of personal weakness, and a love that cares enough to tell the truth.
Phil Yancey, in his book ‘What’s so amazing about grace’ commented that, “The worse a person felt about herself, the more likely she saw Jesus as a refuge.” He then goes on to ask, What happened that these same people do not feel welcome among Christ followers? (Yancey, Phil. (1997). What’s so amazing about grace? pg 11.Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan)
The church family continues to sit around the table of fellowship, diverting eye contact so as not to see the pain that has been silenced by the delusion from words of, “I’m good!” The flip-side behavior reveals persons holding eye contact to dare the other person to discount the declaration of, “I’m good!” By default, we continue to live a lie by our silence. We forgo the balm of healing that comes from sharing our burdens one with another.
The church has lack of (organized in-house) resources for her hurting members and the community cannot meet the spiritual component that 9 out-of 10 people search for when trying to cope with fear, trauma and disaster.
Will true love and care be evident, “When trauma comes to your church?”