I have recently observed many great, positive changes in the language we use and approach we take in many matters of faith within the Christian church.
One of those positive changes is viewing our faith in a more holistic and whole-life way. Exploring how to expand and advance the Kingdom of God ON EARTH instead of just waiting for Jesus to bring it to us. Seeing what Jesus is doing NOW and joining him instead of asking him to do something that we think he should.
Which stands in stark contrast to the hidden message I have often heard (and continue to hear) when Christians evangelize, talk of evangelism or even in sermons and church meetings, making it sound as if the Church is taking care of people in a hospice and inviting others to join them there.
Here is the gist of the message as I hear it:
We are all dying and humanity is on a path to hell. Before everyone else gets to hell we need to snatch away as many of them as possible so we can all gather together to wait to die in a spiritual hospice called the Church.
Every week we go to the urgent care center(church) where the doctor(pastor) tends to our discomfort giving us medicine to ease our pain, comforting words to make us feel better about dying and then we discuss heaven and what itâ€™s going to be like.
The pastor tells us how we can live our final moments the best way possible and we strategize about how we can get more people to join us in the hospice, talking about how sad it is that there are people â€œout thereâ€ who refuse to join us.
We discuss our bed sores and other maladies and commiserate and then we leave urgent care and enter the village of the dying.
We look with grave anticipation for the slightest hint that the anti Christ has come so we can be raptured and we make ourselves feel better about dying by looking at how much worse off everyone else is without the hospice and the urgent care center.
Sometimes we do fun things like play shuffleboard, have potlucks or play bingo to pass the time and we spend copious amounts of time creating fliers and books designed to make the hospice as enticing as possible because we certainly don't want to come into direct contact with the dying "out there".
...all in the hopes that our hospice will have the most dying people in it.
Contrast this with the grand adventure Jesus invites us to join.
John 14:12-15 (NIV) â€œTruly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13â€œWhatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14â€œIf you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. 15â€œIf you love Me, you will keep My commandments."
As I look around my sphere of influence, in the cultural context in which I minister, I see people who long to be a part of something bigger than themselves. People who know there is something more to this cockeyed life than they are now experiencing and they want to be a part of it.
They donâ€™t care if itâ€™s sexy or fashionable or trendy, but they DO care whether or not itâ€™s making a difference. Isnâ€™t that exactly what we have to offer? Isnâ€™t that exactly what Jesus called us to? Jesus MADE A DIFFERENCE. Real change resulted when he touched people, talked to people, told stories and scolded the religious snobs. Jesus did not only minister to the whole person, he shared in the pain, trials, joys and victories of peopleâ€™s life.
Jesus did not predestine us to eek out a pitiful existence and wait for him to return. He called us to join him on an eternal journey of living and bringing the Kingdom. We donâ€™t just have a â€œheavenly homeâ€ to offer people, we have reconciliation, restored relationships, real hope of real change to bring to Godâ€™s aching, weeping, hurting creation. We have vision of destiny and purpose to offer, a life worth livingâ€¦for eternity.
Makeesha Fisher Guest Blogger