It’s time for the Church to rise up.
Rise up against/for what you might ask?
Rise up against racism?
Rise up against or for masks?
Rise up against Trump? Biden?
Rise up against the destroying of our supposed freedoms?
Rise up against the media?
It seems that when we talk about taking any kind of a stand, today, it usually has very little to do with the gospel or the Kingdom of God and usually has everything to do with a very broken world.
Don’t get me wrong…
Do the research.
Have an opinion.
Vote and live out your convictions politically, socially and in every other way.
But if I can be honest for a moment…I am weary…and I know I’m not alone.
I (and I bet many others) have all but abandoned Facebook and all social media. If I didn’t need to use it for my “day job” (I’m bi-vocational), I would delete it from all of my devices. I’ve also abandoned almost all news sources.
I’m not in denial and I’m not burying my head in the sand…well…maybe I am a little.
I’ve watched the interest in returning to faith by many in our community when this pandemic began being met with church members condemning each other, demeaning people who have a different opinion from them, and accusations of stupidity when we don’t agree about, well, lots of things.
All the while, depression is on the rise.
Counseling centers are overflowing with people in need having to wait weeks just to get an appointment.
Hope is fading.
The safety net of increased unemployment is ending.
Businesses are closing (and therefore jobs are ending).
Personal savings are being depleted.
Marriages are struggling.
Children are withdrawing.
Families are about to be evicted from their homes.
Food banks are about to be hit with their second wave.
Churches are struggling and church members are leaving.
If I’m honest, I have grown so weary of seeing the cumulative effect of this pandemic/political landscape/racial disharmony on people.
And not just random people, people who are followers of “the Way”. And not just followers of “the Way” but followers of “the Way” that were the best of friends 4 short months ago.
Today, friends trade barbs about masks, shame fellow church members over unproven treatments of COVID-19 – Hint – they’re all unproven right now.
The conversation on race goes something like this…
No, I’m not racist! You’re racist!
I hate you!
That’s fine with me because I hate you, too!
(Ok, maybe that’s a bit extreme but it’s also not too far off.)
The gospel seems to be taking a back seat to who should be our political savior and the Kingdom of God seems a little less important because…have you looked outside lately?
I don’t want to add to the constant barrage of shaming and I recognize that this may feel just like that but I do think it’s time for a change and it’s time for the Church (big “C”) to rise up.
Paul said this about “the Way”:
Acts 24:14 (NLT)
14 “But I admit that I follow the Way, which they call a cult. I worship the God of our ancestors, and I firmly believe the Jewish law and everything written in the prophets.
I believe it’s time for the church to return to it’s place in the world as a hope bearer instead of a shame heaper.
It’s time for us to rise up to the calling that Jesus gave us to LOVE one another.
It’s time for us to rise up to REJECT the use of SHAME to influence people. Shame is a tool of the enemy and it is the real consequence of sin, not the go to tool in the Christians arsenal to get people to agree with them.
It’s time for us to rise up and remind the world that it’s broken but there is a Savior that brings hope and life and more than anything wants to put the pieces of our hearts back together.
It’s time for us to rise up and follow “the Way” again, just as the early believers did.
It’s time we reject the sins that so easily entangle the world and we rise up to live a better way.
It’s time we rise up and represent Christ first, not as an anecdote.
It’s time we rise up and celebrate the gift of Jesus and hope that is in the world.
It’s time we rise up and remind the world that life is beautiful and precious but it can only be fully realized through healthy and loving relationships beginning with Christ.
It’s time we champion healthy families and rush to the aid of the hurting even if they are voting for someone different.
“The Way” of the first century is STILL “the Way” of 2020. Followers of Jesus are meant to be propagators of good, propagators of hope, propagators of love and propagators of TRUE freedom in Christ.
Our minds should be set on things ABOVE instead of below and our commission is to lead other people to do the same.
It’s time that we return to our first love because it is only in Him that we can rise up out of the mess that we are in right now.
Will you join me? It won’t be easy. It’s going to require a lot of prayer, a lot of healing and a new…well, old way of viewing the world.
We begin with each other. Loving and helping those who are also on the same path that we are on and then we let it expand, grow and reach out to those who are just as weary as we are.
Will you let go of secondary things and focus on the main thing? Will you ask for forgiveness? Will you offer forgiveness? Will you give a helping hand to the hurting? Will you share hope?
It’s time for the Church to rise up.