Sometimes Jesus’ call to the church seems like one big set-up: “…the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few…you’re like lambs amongst wolves…don’t bring anything along the way that you think might help you, and don’t even say ‘hi’ to anyone…” (Luke 10:1-4)
That’s not much of a sales pitch.
But perhaps the movement of the church is more about positioning us to depend on God rather than depending on ourselves. Maybe her rhythm lends more to journeying with people than conquering or inoculating them. And what if, both spontaneously and strategically, we were able to truly be aware of our surroundings so much so that responding to the needs around us would become our natural reflex?
Welcome to the Big Dance. To be the church, there is no pressure to convince people, but rather to invite them onto the floor. But there’s one caveat we need to be aware of: This dance will cost us everything. It’s a risk on so many levels (money, resources, time, life) with the only guarantee being that Jesus said to do it, and that he’d send the Spirit to help and empower.
“When we reflect on the history of the Church, are we not bound to confess that she has failed to follow the example of her Founder? All too often she has worn the robes of the ruler, not the apron of the servant.”
“The church was created to be the people of God to join him in his redemptive mission in the world. The church was never intended to exist for itself. It was and is the chosen instrument of God to expand his kingdom. The church is the bride of Christ. Its union with him is designed for reproduction, the growth of the kingdom. Jesus did not teach his disciples to pray, “Thy church come.” The kingdom is the destination.”
“The greatest proof of Christianity for others is not how far a man logically analyzes his reasons for believing, but how far in practice he will stake his life on his belief.”
“Whether the community is gathered or scattered, the mandate to be Christ’s witnesses defines every dimension of the community’s life. This is what is meant by incarnational witness: demonstrating concretely the reality of God’s love in the ways the community functions. The relationships among the members of the community are intended to incarnate the powerful and transforming love of the gospel. The compassion with which the community cares for its own as well as for its neighbours incarnates the gospel. The dependence of God’s forgiveness is incarnated in the way that the community forgives, practices tolerance, bears one another’s burdens.”
“The will of God now becomes, not the orders of a superior directing what a subordinate must do, but the longing of a lover for what the beloved is. It is a desire, not for a performance, but for a person; a wish, not that the beloved will be obedient, but that she will be herself – the self that is already loved to distraction. The will of God, seen this way is not in order to something, but because of someone.”
“Church in post-Christendom therefore is nothing less than a chosen way of life. It is choosing a way of being together. This way of being together encompasses how we worship, how we share and eat food, how we pool together resources to help the poor, how we get together and hear Scriptures read and teach our children how to listen for God in that. Forgiveness, patience, care, speaking truth in love, is part of this way of being together. In this way of living, career and making money is more about taking care of one another and giving glory to God than personal aspiration. And God inhabits this way of being so that miracles, blessings, sustaining times in life and death become a part of everyday life. Mission becomes our rhythm. (David Fitch)