I was sitting in the nursery of the Nativity Lutheran Church in Weeki Wachee, Florida, between services, snacking on some fruit which had graciously been provided by Pastor Giuseppe and glorious souls who have a knack for putting together such compotes, when I was struck–or perhaps just “pwanged”–by a simple revelation.
The world is always moving. It is our job to note the direction.Just because the pace seems harried, leaving us all in the flurry of busyness, does not mean that we’re trudging forward. Sometimes we go backwards, often it’s just side-stepping right or left. We even become distracted by hitting a wall and continuing to push instead of stopping long enough to find a way around it.
Church is still a beautiful thing–it’s just that in the present march of humanity it seems irrelevant.
For we classify information that comes our way into three categories:
This ranges from our educational system, to reading books, to listening to someone explain the value of a gluten-free diet.
Once again, this could be anything from a Bible conference to a yoga class to hearing a testimony about someone’s ordeal or joining with others in prayer over some nasty bit of business that’s come along.
Every single day of our lives, we alter the gauge on what we feel is necessary for our existence. This explains the tremendous success of Amazon and Wal-mart. These companies have made it friendly to come and buy things we want at reasonable rates, and in the case of Amazon, have them delivered to our door without even needing to leave the comforts of the breakfast nook.
Candidly, if a piece of information is not necessary, we deem it useless. Once something becomes useless, it only receives attention if it can prove–even temporarily–that it has the value of Wal-mart or Amazon.
So something beautiful, like church, which at one time was considered necessary because it initiated relationships, faith, music, cooperation and a sense of community, has now been completely shoved to the rear by the collision of social media and the rising tide of agnosticism.
When I went into the second service I took the realization with me. I discovered that being philosophical or religious bored even those individuals who still remained in the holy sanctuary.
Give them what’s necessary.
When Jesus came to Earth, the common people were slaves to the Romans and subjected to criticism from the religious system.
Jesus told the people they were “the salt of the Earth, the light of the world,” but that they needed to take responsibility for their lives and not wait for either the Romans or Judaism to save them.
He made the message of God necessary. He referred to it as “daily bread.” He told people to “hunger and thirst for righteousness” and to “take no thought for tomorrow” but to live for today.
You will never meet a more promising group of people than I encountered at Nativity. But I will tell them that until the message they share is necessary in people’s lives, a philosophical or religious content will leave folks cold–staying at home and watching television.
The good news is that Christianity can still be about Jesus.
The better news is that he came to give us life–necessary life–and it more abundantly.
Published by Jonathan Cring