I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be the "Church" lately. I remember when all this "stuff" started happening all of my colleagues and many of the faithful started talking about how "the church is not a building," that we can "worship anywhere, even in our PJ's at home."
And yes, while that is true, I can't shake the idea that we are often much better at talking than we are at doing.
In the very beginning, after Adam and Eve at the forbidden fruit, we read Scripture about how God came looking for them one evening, and we read that God asked the question, "Where are you?"
To which Adam responds, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
God's response is key to all of this. He says, "Who told you that you were naked?"
There is a word for this. It's a word that we don't like to hear and/or think about. It's Shame.
Shame is not something that God ever wanted us to feel. In fact, never in Scripture does God tell people that they should feel shame, only that we do because of our brokenness. Shame is our own fault...not something God causes within us.
I heard something on the radio this morning that made me think. How are we different from the rest of the world? What makes us different? Is the the fact that we're United Methodist? Is it the fact that we say that we are Christian? Is it that we believe in the Bible?
Honestly, none of that is what makes us different. What makes us different is the opposite of shame: Joy.
When the world looks at us, what do they see?
Do they see people are are fearful like they are? Or do they see people with peace?
Do they see people who are sad and depressed about all that's going on in the world? Or do they see happiness in spite of it all?
Do they see people who are full of shame at their brokenness? Or do they see people who are filled with Joy because Christ died for them while they were yet sinners?
So, I ask the question today: Where are you, Church?
Let us pray.
God of us all, you are always more ready to hear us than we are to pray. Help us to be a light in the darkness. Help us to be people of Joy in the midst of a world that is joy-less. Help us not to hide in our shame, but to give you Glory in our salvation.
In the name of Jesus we Pray,
Growing up in the United Methodist Church, I have always had a passion for ministry. Now, I have been called to serve the people of Llano at an awesome place called Lutie Watkins Memorial!