Summary: Transforming armchair Christians into the Witnesses they can be.
I would like this morning to hold up a mirror toward the congregation. Not a glass with silver backing dressed up with an ornate gold leafed frame…don’t attempt to adjust your hair or tuck your child’s shirt back in, again. This mirror will not show our beauty nor our flaws nor our choices of stripes or plaid this morning. This mirror will however reflect our convictions in Christ. I would like this service on this day to be a reflection of our congregation.
Sunday after Sunday your attention is focused due North on this four by four area. Sunday after Sunday I wear away at this floor space and Sunday after Sunday you wear away at the smaller space in your pew with your eyes wide open focused intently on the message. This may be wishful thinking as I am sure there are plenty of last minute grocery list, golf club selections, and up coming events being planned on the back of the bulletin. HE says, wherever there are two or more gathered in MY name, then so shall I be also. So, let’s go on now knowing that we are surrounded by perfection in this place. So then in a perfect world every Sunday after Sunday your focus is indeed in-front of you. You are there in your place, I am here in my place and through the text of the gospel, weaved into life’s lessons I relate the word to a group supposedly concerned about more than just themselves. Sunday after Sunday we are expected to connect on a higher spiritual plane from the sound of my voice projected from my place and received by you there in your place. For some this IS your exposure to the gospel. Don’t get me wrong, sharing with like minded folk is one of the strongest bonds we build through worshiping shoulder to shoulder. We’re glad to have ya.
I don’t know of anyone who time over time really makes a strong/ passionate connection with anyone using this format of- you listen while I’ll try to say the right words, interjecting passage and verse along the way. This alone is just not enough. You have no ownership in the communications, no chance to share your agreements or objections on what is delivered to you. There is just no receipt given as you leave today- you cannot take back what is given to you -- as you sit there in your place and I deliver from here in my place.
I know that my wife does not respond to me standing on a stool looking over the den floor, freshly vacuumed as I proclaim in my best pulpit voice- “and it is good”. I cannot assemble the neighborhood kids neatly around a step ladder, ascend to the third step and then call down…lo; I give you now the traits of character that you must pattern your life after. These kids want some action. I better find a way to become one of them if I am to reach to them. I better work a message into a game of dodge ball. I better make His word acceptable in their environment. If we plant the Word in their settings, they WILL grow it. And are we all just children of God.
In Revelations 3:20- it says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock…if anyone hears my voice…I will come in…” The issue here is you gotta hear the knock before you can open the door. It is our responsibility as believers to answer the Great Commission and amplify the knock. This is not a suggestion. This is His will. We have to get through to the person who is on the inside. The person’s inner person. That inner voice that has fear and doubt or worse yet, nothing to fill their open minds and open ears because they live in a world where no one will bring them the Word. You can surely know they are not coming by themselves to this high holy place. This high holy place that we Sunday after Sunday we just call-- home. For gosh sakes, we come Sunday after Sunday, I am here in my place and you are there in your place – but your place, where you sit, looks a whole lot like a big sofa!
We need ownership in the ministering process if we are to be moved to action. Jesus had come for us as one of us. Look around, the folks next to you want to be here. This is the easy part. Shake those hands, smile and be proud you can proclaim Halleluiah with those in church. Can you lift your hands high around the folks next to you at work or on the bus or on the plane or in line at the grocery, can you even whisper His name on their level in their space. If I want to reach the neighbors kids with the Word then I better find a way to get to their level and communicate in ways and in settings they best relate to. If we have heard the knock, then we must amplify his voice and we simply cannot do from here in my place and you there in yours.