Monday, April 30, 2018

Meet, Know, Follow - BE the Church!

Since earliest times men have seen the earth and sky and all God made, and have known of his existence and great eternal power. So they will have no excuse when they stand before God at Judgment Day. (Romans 1:20 TLB)

While none us is without excuse in knowing there is a God of the universe, not all of the world knows of his plan of salvation for their lives. Isn't that the purpose of the church - the help people meet, know, and follow Jesus with all that is within them? Yet, so many "churches" meet each week with nothing more than a nice, pleasing sermon and a few songs, only to go through the week without one consideration of this thing called 'relationship'. Going to church is far different from being the church. Christ's call was for us to BE the church, not for us to build the buildings and warm the pews! To BE the church, we have to do more that 'go to church' - we have to allow the message to penetrate our hearts and then to affect our actions. We have to live in such a way that others begin to do more than just acknowledge there is a God, but rather that they want a relationship with this God!

To meet someone the two need to be brought into close proximity. Yes, we can meet each other virtually these days through the power of technology, but it just isn't the same as being in the same room, able to touch each other, hearing each other just breathe. Sometimes we need that closeness to just know there is a reality to the connection we feel. Yes, the connection goes on when we are not in the same room, but to really get to know each other we need the privilege of personal connection. We laugh and cry together. We discover and remember together. The power of two together is immeasurable. 

To know someone there needs to be time of specific discovery. We don't get to know one another by osmosis - we ask questions, hear answers, formulate new questions, and so on. We find out favorite things and things not very well liked. We discover things we tolerate and those we just cannot stand. We soon learn each has a viewpoint that makes them unique. In the process of spending time together, we begin to get to 'know' them. Knowing involves not only discovery, but true depth of understanding - like when we finally figure out what makes that other person who and what they are. We find out the things that happened, those that are happening, and what they are planning - all making them who and what they are. To know, we need time together and then we need to pay attention 'on purpose' to each other.

To follow someone one needs to lead. Both cannot lead or else there will be a whole lot of head-butting going on. One leads, the other trusts. The more we get to know the one we are following, the more we will not be placing 'blind trust' in the direction they are leading - it will be a trust that comes from understanding the one who is leading! Following engages the senses, requires the heart to be committed, and involves actions on both parts. The one who leads takes actions committed to helping the one following to make the journey. The one following never takes his eyes off the one leading, because to do so could mean losing one's step. 

We may not think much about 'the church' being a building if we begin to think of it as being US. The building really doesn't matter - it is the people who inhabit that building that are the real church. Just sayin!