Lisa Allgood, Executive Presbyter
If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. – Romans 14:8
There’s something that has stuck with me for the past week or so. It’s from the NPR segment from Krista Tippett called On Being:
“I’ve been walking around with some words of the late John Lewis in recent days — words he lived and embodied — that in the space between the world as it is and what we long for it to become, we are called to “live as if” the possibility we aspire to is already present. Our job is to make it more visible, more vivid, more definingly true.”
Wow. Even without the post-COVID blues, churches today – all denominations, all religions – are living in the space between the world as it is – or as it has become – and what we long for it to be. In many ways, the thing we most have to guard against is ensuring that the “what we long for it to be” isn’t “what it was 50 years ago because that’s when we were comfortable”. Friends, we can’t go backwards. We must look ahead – down to a long-term future horizon. God needs for us to do that.
As a church, what if we all “lived as if” the Spirit was careening through our hallways, blessing our congregation and our mission and every word we uttered – in worship, in meetings, in Fellowship conversations? What if we “lived as if” we knew it was our church, our missions, our words, that were solely responsible for being the Gospel in a hurting, needful world? What if we “lived as if” we were one of Jesus’ disciples – watching Him worship the God of His heart, then minister to the outcasts, the marginalized, the poor, the widow, the orphan – and then we went and did likewise.
And, oh, by the way – how might Jesus even define who is an orphan or a widow in the 21st century…? (Perhaps that’s a future blog.)
How can we make our church – every single one of our churches – more visible, more vivid, more definingly working out the truth of the salvation of Jesus the Christ, for everyone around us? How can we more visibly, more vividly, more definingly speak the Gospel hope in our worship and our work? Because friends, if we are living according to the Will of God, the possibility we aspire to is already present and He will make a way. We just have to be open to His voice, and understand that the possibility is a loving reminder that there is always something to nurture – in all its beautiful and scary potential – so that we know where to place our attention. On the thing we wish to grow.