What a sweet time together last Sunday evening! It's truly beautiful and inspiring to see what Jesus is accomplishing within our community, and Tim Phenna's message to us spoke to exactly that -- what it looks like to be the hope and healing that we are to be for those around us, when we are surrounded by so much that would seek to destroy every good work of God in our world. The call to be a community of prayer and love towards our neighbor seems to embody so much of what Jesus is doing among us.
Many of you have asked for the quote from John Stott that Tim shared with us, as it speaks to the role of the Church -- of our church -- in these days:
“Our Christian habit is to bewail the world’s deteriorating standards with an air of rather self-righteous dismay. We criticize its violence, dishonesty, immorality, disregard for human life, and materialistic greed. ‘The world is going down the drain,’ we say with a shrug.
But whose fault is it? Who is to blame? Let me put it like this. If the house is dark when nightfall comes, there is no sense in blaming the house; that is what happens when the sun goes down. The question to ask is, ’Where is the light?’
Similarly, if the meat goes bad and becomes inedible, there is no sense in blaming the meat; this is what happens when bacteria are left alone to breed. The question to ask is, ’Where is the salt?
Just so, if society deteriorates and its standards decline until it becomes like a dark night or a stinking fish, there is no sense in blaming society; that is what happens when fallen men and women are left to themselves, and human selfishness is unchecked. The question to ask is, ‘Where is the Church? Why are the salt and light of Jesus Christ not permeating and changing our society?”
-- John Stott, from “Issues Facing Christians Today" 1984
While this quote accurately depicts our hearts and what we are seeing and experiencing in the world, it can be hard to figure out what a next step would be. What does it look like to "cross the street" and enter into the suffering and woundedness of the world, our country and our own hearts?
There is no fast answer to this. The call is the same as the good Samaritan's: to choose to enter in even if we are afraid or if it costs us something. It starts by confessing where we are in the story, asking Jesus for healing in our own hearts as he calls us further into his story.
So may we always be salt, and may we always be light. For a world in darkness and for a world in need, may we always go to the other side of the road, offering to the forgotten and to the hurting the kindness and peace of our great God.
Peace to you,
along with the CLT