At The Risk of Themselves
“The church is called to undertaking this mission even at the risk of losing its life, trusting in God alone as the author and giver of life, sharing the gospel, and doing those deeds in the world that point beyond themselves to the new reality in Christ.” Book of Order G-3.0400.
It it is not often that one quotes from the Presbyterian Book of Order in ones sermon. Yesterday was one of those days. I was preaching in the morning about how we (the church) are the living embodiment of the Kingdom of Heaven, but not totally revealed (a whole another subject in itself). As as church we are called to be ones of unity, living out the embodiment of Christ, and are to be sent (John 17:20-26). Blah, blah,blah… I could just keep writing on what I preached on, but I won’t (because you can buy the CD, actually you can’t, we are not that high tech). But the point is that we, as our congregation are to shed our labels. No longer do we want to be the know as the Hispanic New Church Development or the poster-child of Hearts and Hands in our Presbytery, but point to Christ in all things that we do.
It could be quite easy to do the status quo and make our way through ministry, but is that what we as a church is called to? The Book of Order says that we need to fulfill the mission of the church, otherwise known as evangelism, to the point of its own life. That is a radical thought! How many churches can say that they do that or even willing to consider that: put the risk of closing the church doors on the line for the sake of the mission of the church.
And Trusting in God Alone…uh.. smart elders would want to have everything nice and structured and organized. Maybe a nice pie chart and everything else, maybe a plan b or c. In order that we can be best assured of success. That is not what this is saying. It is saying “JUMP! and I’ll catch You”. Trust in God, and not to what you can see, make logic of, or touch. Put full faith in God. Remembering that God is the author of life or in charge of everything… That’s right God is in control and not me.
Doing those deeds in the world that point beyond themselves to the new reality in Christ. Going beyond ourselves, huh? What does that look like? A new service or maybe two? Outreach to the underprivileged? Stretching the congregation to areas that they have never even dreamed that they are capable of? THAT IS WHAT IT MEANS!!!! It is not about what we are comfortable in doing or even willing to do, but beyond that. I loved having a fifty year old former elder who worked for NASA come and be present with wild and reckless Junior Highers. That was beyond himself and it made a difference in the kids lives. And in it all transforming themselves and others in fuller knowledge and depth in their own relationship with God.
In other words: GAME ON!!!