letter to my mom age friend...#1 8 \
I don’t know what God will do about us and church. *sigh* I’m really tired of hitting my head against this same wall. I JUST came in from reading outside, and I’m about at the end of “Blue Like Jazz”…it’s such an easy and interesting read. I don’t agree with him on everything, but I do on many things. It’s interesting because I was just thinking of blogging on this very topic….(church)….and how I feel and what I want and what I need.
For a long time we went to a church here that didn’t reach out in community at all. I was suffering physically, and no one listened to my cries for help, no one offered to help at all. It wasn’t until after surgery (after hemorrhaging for 40 days one summer) that the entire women’s group of maybe 30 women offered to bring dinner one night…AFTER I was back home from surgery. All I could think of was “too little, too late”. My family could have used help all summer long, but no one took time to get to know there was a need, or they ignored us all together.
Then for a few years I went to a church that was great about reaching out when there was a need…but not when there was NO need. I guess I learned that in TRUE community we are supposed to reach out all the time. Keep reaching out. You don’t have to be lying on the side of the road to have a need. So many are hurting on the inside, are lonely, are recovering, or are just beginning to suffer.
I want to reach out, constantly. Not in a busy-body way, but in a way that others know that I am here for them. I am not the Savior, but in my wanting to be “the hands and feet of Jesus” in community, I can point others to THE WAY. Not to “church” but to Jesus. I think that’s often how we lose focus…we get so wrapped up in the numbers game of bringing people to church, or pointing them to church, or selling them on church, that we forget to show them Jesus.
When Jesus isn’t living in the church, it’s easy to lose site of the reason you are there. When you keep bringing Him in, and others keep pushing Him out and making it about “the church” and “the numbers” then I get weary. They are good people. Some of them are very committed to Jesus and love Him very much and do a lot for the body of Christ, but they don’t get the BIGGER PICTURE…. The part about loving our enemies, or even liking the people in the church next door, or feeding the ones that vote differently than you, or the ones that despise the fact that we worship Jesus at all….and this is where the book has brought that back out in me. It put words to my feelings. I’d rather do all the right things in community, and not go to church, than to go to church and only do the right things there.
I want people to love me NOT because I can cook for youth, or finance a program, or arrange meals for a widow, or house a youth. I want them to love me because I love Jesus. PERIOD. Reach out to those that are healthy, not just sick. Do things when it’s NOT expected. Reach beyond the walls of the church. Be a movement, not a building, not a denomination, not a program. BE.