Question: Why must people wake up early on Sunday, get all dressed up, and drive to a specific location to sit in rows looking all morning at the back of some person’s head while a person they usually don’t know talks to them about the latest prescription of three steps to a better life! Is this experience of “church” really supposed to change their lives forever? Really, it is a strange thing to do. And, I am convinced that most of us are so familiar with it as to not see how strange our customs really are to those who are not part of our community of faith.
It amazes me to consider how much effort and how many resources (time, money, and people) are expended for a single hour to 90 minutes once a week. Maybe we have made “church” nothing more than a religious show that takes place on Sunday, and after it’s done we all go home, until church starts again next week, same time, same place. Is this what the Bride of Christ is suppose to be biblically?
The heart of our message is that God didn’t expect us to come to Him in Heaven. He came to us. He lived life on our terms and on our turf. He became incarnate. That is a theological word that is worth explaining. Incarnate means He was “in flesh” or “in a human body.” When someone orders chilli ‘con carne,’ they are ordering chilli with meat, or flesh. Jesus is God incarnate. He was truth “fleshed out” for all to see. He “became flesh and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
So, as Jesus came to touch lives so He sends us to touch lives. The day when we could invite people to come to church to experience Jesus or come to know about Him is past and gone. It is no longer a matter of “gather” but now a matter of “scatter.” We, as believers, should be like Jesus and be incarnate in our local neighbourhood, apartment building, or sports arena. In our post-Christian world people are no longer waiting to be invited to attend church with you. But, they would come to your home and have a coffee and there see how your faith and values impact and influence your life.
Jesus is still incarnate; we are now His feet, His hands, His eyes, and His mouth. We are the Body of Christ. We are His temple, and His Spirit dwells within our flesh (1 Corinthians 6:19). We are not deity, but Deity dwells in us, and I suggest that this truth is such a dramatically life-altering reality that all should notice as we live out our every day life as “Jesus incarnate” in our communities and work places.
Sir Walter Moberly stated: “If one-tenth of what you believe is true, you ought to be ten times as excited as you are.” This is the word of a non-Christian who has listened to our message and studied our behaviour. It hurts because it is true. It should sting. We must begin to let the Word of Christ and the Spirit of God richly dwell within us so that His divine presence is noticeable. It was for this that Christ died. Lesslie Newbigin rightly says, “The Church is sent into the world to continue that which He came to do, in the power of the same Spirit, reconciling people to God.” (John 20:19-23)
It is time to return to our roots. Let the Church be alive, organic, in the flesh. Let the Church be birthed in places where it is most needed. Let the Church be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth as Jesus intended, as He paid for.