Tuesday, June 16, 2009

GET OUT!

I came across this interesting and arresting quote today:
"...The word ‘mass’ is said to be derived from the final sentence of the old Latin rite, ite missa est. In polite English it might be rendered, ‘Now you are dismissed.’ In more blunt language it could be just, ‘Get out!’ – out into the world which God made and God-like beings inhabit, the world into which Christ came and into which he now sends us. For that is where we belong. The world is the arena in which we are to live and love, witness and serve, suffer and die for Christ..."
John Stott, New Issues Facing Christians Today

Timely words from Stott. For me, his words form a not-so-gentle reminder of why I and millions like me are cluttering up this planet.

In times like these when evil appears to be swallowing good at an unprecedented rate, it can be bewildering for believers. Many of us may find ourselves depressed, with the temptation to withdraw into the safety of our church walls, and develop a siege mentality. But if good refuses to engage evil, out there where it lives, what hope can we ever have of overcoming it?

No, we were created for such a time as this. We can never forget for a moment Jesus' own words to Peter that on the rock of revelation that Jesus is the Christ He would build His church, and the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18) But we must BE the church as God designed it--each of us in close relationship with Him, bound to each other in love and unity, and with open hearts and hands extended to the world beyond, as the salt (preservative) of the earth. We must attack evil as God designed--not lobbing volleys of disgust and condemnation at sin from our safe positions behind the church fortress walls, but charging into the culture to engage sin in hand-to-hand combat, while embracing the sinner with Christ's love, demonstrating a better way.

History has shown that the church flourishes under pressure. We've had it awfully easy in the United States up until now. Let's not be the first generation of the church that wilts in fear and retreats at the first sign of pressure. Let's re-order our priorities, make sure our hearts are right, find our identity, power and confidence in Christ, and in humility, GET OUT!

2 comments:

  1. Great thoughts and profound points Betsy! And as you know this is what our family has been searching for and wrsetling with the last several months. Yes we are not called to do church,to be spectators and to follow a system. We, like you said, are to BE the church. For our family, we are looking for what that should look like for us.There is no set standard. Even though we feel we have not retreated (and we have been judged for that very thing), we seek earnestly for God to direct us in how church should look. I believe the walls are crumbling and we will see more and more the diverse look and function of the overall church. With the tremendous venues we have today such as cell phones,Internet,and all the new stuff out there that I cannot keep up with, the church has great capacity to BE the church in so many different ways. How about a hiking group that meets in the mountains to share, pray, and build relationally? That is church. How about a few families getting together to serve the community in some way every month? What about the mothers at home all day caring for their young ones and speaking to them about the love of God. Is that Being the church? What about the lone ranger in a company of cursing, disrespectful co-workers who exemplifies peace and grace.Is that being the church? The possibilities are endless. There does not have to be one set way to get out there. An order of service is not needed. We've gotta get out there, be our real selves with others who are struggling and build trust again with those who do not have a relationship with Jesus.We have to cut out the spiritual, religious act. This is a slow process which seems to be effective by one on one building of genuine friendships. That is how Jesus did it. For us, church will never be the same again. Thanks Betsy. I am sure you knew I would comment on this sensitive subject. Sorry this is so long.Love, Ange

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  2. Love that book shelf! I want to put one on my blog!!

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