|Posted by East Ohio MFSA on March 28, 2011 at 10:31 AM|
Pollsters are telling us that people identify churches and denominations not so much by what they believe, but by what they do. I want to broaden the idea of the "DO" part by suggesting that any such identification also means who we are.
What are the characteristics that mark us individually as followers of Jesus Christ? What are the characteristics that mark us as a community of Christ’s followers? What are the characteristics that mark our organization in a Church and a society where many groups are seeking to use their influence?
We should commit ourselves (individually and corporately) to be deeply invested in the Biblical message and our spiritual growth.
We live and labor in God’s world. Thus we should be fully aware of that world. The world is not ours. As such our holy labors are not for ourselves. Rather, our work is to be faithful to God’s purpose.
We must know and understand the world – even better than knowing our wants and wishes for it. 1) We need to see the sinfulness of the world – and out part in that. 2) We must sense the hurt in the world – and grieve with God about it. 3) We must grasp God’s hope for the world – and make it our own.
It’s of no small consequence that Jesus chose a GROUP of persons to constitute his first group of followers. Although our images of the dynamic in that fellowship are limited, we can note several significant things about it. 1) It was a gathering of diverse individuals who nonetheless were willing to work together. 2) Jesus allowed for diversity of opinion, and was ever ready to answer their various questions. 3) He imparted responsibility to them as individuals, but mostly as a group.
Thus, as followers of Christ, we do well to follow the group fellowship model that he created among those immediately around him. Not only does that strengthen us individually as we reflect upon the truths and responsibilities before us, it is a source of strength and inspiration to each and all of us as we move into the world, a world which too often resists the invitation and demands of the Gospel.
This is a reminder that our calling is in response to the invitation of Christ and not in response to any one’s political agenda. And if we are talking about strategy, we must remember it begins with humility, because so much is at stake. And "holy" strategy is a holistic one, requiring the commitment of our heart, our mind, and our lives and action.
Both words in that title are significant. We’re in the struggle for justice not to win (which is a human value), but to be faithful to the life and teachings of Christ and to God’s hope for God’s "kingdom come, (thy) will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Win or lose, people and the world need to sense in us a presence and spirit of Christ.