Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Serving the Church

The church...or is it the Church?...or maybe THE CHURCH!!! How do you see it? Does it even matter. Let me say this, it matters to me. In fact, it REALLY matters to me!

It matters to me because I believe the church is the hope of the world. I should be more precise, I believe that Jesus, through the life of the church, is the hope of the world.

I was reminded today about the variety of ways people can express their deep commitment of faith. The question was asked..."can a person 'sign in blood' without being a part of the church?"

The answer is "Yes"! Now let me unpack the question. In every aspect of life (family, employment, neighborhoods, church, etc) people make commitments. Some of those commitments are written in pencil. The signature can be erased or it can fade with time. Others sign in ink. They are more certain than 'pencil' folks. They seem to understand how significant the commitment really is.

Then there are people who not only comprehend the importance, step forward, and push all their chips into the middle of the table (can I say that?). They are all in. They sign in blood. No number two pencil for them. Even ink will not do. They want to demonstrate the significance of their baptism by symbolically connecting with Christ who shed his blood for the salvation of the world. They are 'blood' folks.

Here is how the metaphor works out in every day life. Please hear the word 'metaphor'...we are not talking about actual blood! It works when leaders recognize pencil folks and give them 'pencil level' responsibility. The same for signing in ink. The problem arises when we expect pencil folks to live out blood expectations. You get the picture!

Now, for the life of the church...even through I believe the church is a wonderful way for people to serve, grow, learn, and share the fullness of life...not everyone will live out their faithfulness within the context of the church. Many (a growing number) will be faithful full time disciples in the world without ever touching the church.

I believe that Jesus, through the life of the church, is the hope of the world. I may need to adjust (read altar) my definition. One of these days! Meanwhile, connect! Commit! Communicate! Be people of faith! Amen.

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