Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Get connected, Friend!

The weather is beginning to cool here in Tucson. The mornings are perfect for riding my bike. As I cruised through my working-class neighborhood this morning, I saw all the community usuals: Old ladies walking dogs, lots of small but well –kept houses, a collection of work trucks parked on the street, and a smattering of proudly displayed American flags. I did notice one new phenomenon: on every block were a few houses with yards teeming with weeds and degraded advertising circulars. These are the fruit of our economic collapse; the ones who couldn’t hang on long enough to keep their modest homes, the foreclosures. Sad stuff. The condition of the house tells us that no one lives there, and that no one is invested enough to maintain the property – no responsible owner. The exterior gives away the emptiness inside.

The truth is that the problems that brought about this state of external decay started long before the effects became visible from the street. Jobs were threatened and lost, bills went unpaid, relationships crumbled, fear ruled the home, but the façade was still intact. We all know people who are like the foreclosures. They are broken down, unkempt, and seemingly hopeless. Sure God can and will restore them, but the process may be daunting. It seems to me that we could head off some of this destruction if we could just get inside the house before the crisis. Maybe if we could get in we could offer some support, instruction, prayer, or whatever, before collapse becomes inevitable. God wants us in fellowship and connection with a local body of believers. Not just a place to hear a sermon or enjoy a concert, but somewhere to let our hair down, to allow others into our lives in a way that allows them to see and recognize and speak when they see us spinning off the rails. Church, like all of Christianity, is rooted in relationship.

Somebody Said: You can be committed to Church but not committed to Christ, but you cannot be committed to Christ and not committed to church. Joel Osteen

Scripture Reading: Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. (Rom 12:4-5 NLT)

It takes time and effort to form relationships close enough to see inside the house; to get out of the driveway, past the front door, and into the kitchen. This is not the job of a pastor, it is the privilege of a friend, a co-worker, a peer. It is not based on a vertical authority structure, but a horizontal touching of another life. We all need people who know us well, love us anyway, and are not afraid to tell us the truth. Lord, let these be found in church.



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