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Posts Tagged ‘Community’

There used to be something I believed quite strongly in. That is if you just learned enough bible, you know enough verses things would get better. And the reason people couldn’t stay strong is because they didn’t have enough bible in them. So if someone had a problem hook them up to the bible IV, sooner or later they would get better, or there was something wrong with them. Why? Because the bible is the answer to all of our questions and life difficulties right?

Just apply the specific proof text to your problems three times a day and call me in the morning. Got marriage problems? Read the bible! Children experimenting with drugs (first the church may be so judgmental that you won’t have to worry about them talking to you) apply the bible. Anxiety due to the economy and you don’t have enough money saved to weather the storm? Read the bible! Molested as a child? Read the Bible! Lost your spouse and children in a wreck? Come on! Read your bible! Want to know the answers to everything in the world? Read your bible!

But what happens Community of Grace when it doesn’t work? When my husband or wife is having an affair? When my boss mistreats me and the anxiety wakes me up at 3:00 Sunday morning. When my kid overdoses? When my spouse commits suicide and we don’t have life insurance? When the chemo and the operation didn’t heal the cancer of my 3 year old? When I am told by the doctor that he can’t find whats wrong and my health insurance runs out. When my wife can’t get pregnant, or she loses 3 kids and now she has depression and don’t want to see me, touch me or even hear my voice? What happens when I don’t want to read the bible, my prayers are as heavy as armored truck, when the ceiling is closing in the walls are getting getting closer, the end seems to be as far away as the sun? When Jesus feels like an abstract thought, sort of like the Tooth Fairy or Frost the Snowman?

For the most part I don’t think we know what to do. We have become so accustomed to prescribing the bible that we don’t know how to allow people to be messed up. We got to fix it. We have to give them an answer. Forget weeping when they weep, or rejoicing when they rejoice. Forget bearing one anothers burdens. Why because that takes relationship, time,  grace. We have to allow people to question God in a way that shakes our faith at its core, and for most of us that is to scary. That is too risky. We have to allow people to cry on us until we are soaked in their tears, that our hearts ache, until we are torn as they our torn.

Sometimes we just need to shut up and listen. Sometimes we need to put the kids to bed, turn on the coffee pot (or open a couple of beers, or like me a little “wine for my stomach”) and prepare for a long night. But we don’t have time, nor the patience,  nor the endurance to bear others burdens. I also don’t think we have the compassion nor the mercy. It is much easier to fix it, give them a bible verse and it all just goes away, depression and emotional illness, and homosexual struggles, and infidelity and lose of young loved ones are not easy fixes and I know many people today who say “the church left me hanging in my time of need” and they want nothing to do with it/us.

Here is my appeal Christian, and to all of the people that I gave some neat verse in your time of need I am soooo sorry, be a shoulder, or an ear, open your home and get the tissues ready. Tell the spouse you are going to be up late at Denny’s, tell the boss you will be in a little late. In other words stop trying to do the easy fix method, the patch work of quoting verses. Listen, have compassion, lay down your life, I know you have to go to work and the kids have you up late, and the game is coming on, but I remember Paul saying “don’t look out for your own interests only”. Lets start being a community of grace and that just doesn’t mean forgiveness but also extended one’s life for the benefit of others.

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Ephesians 4:15-16

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

 

“Christ is the Body of the Church”.  I guess that could be one theme of the book of Ephesians. We just finished up this past Sunday on the book of Ephesians and if you read this book and don’t take away the high view on community you have missed what I believe the be the second most important element of the book. The first being your position in Christ. But this position frees you to now understand the corporateness of Christianity. Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 12:

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