It’s a great feeling to be a part of a local church like Bethany. Our community is comprised of folks who come from many different walks of life, and various church backgrounds, if any.
This reality results in the potential for a tremendous amount of Jesus-like-love and mutual learning, if we allow it to, as well as the opportunity for divisiveness. if we are not careful. The great thing is we get to choose, each and every one of us.
Will we let that which makes us different keep us at arm’s reach, or will we focus on that which unites us?
Will we focus on Jesus, & invite the Spirit of God to draw us into a life of faith, and a community that reflects heaven on earth?
Or will we remain distant, and noncommittal?
Because here is the thing: the honest truth, it’s easier to fall into divisiveness. It is easier to point out weaknesses and imperfections in a local church, and then move on to another one that better suits our needs or preferences.
And there we will remain until inevitably, the imperfect people let us down there also. And so, we become nomads, drifters, looking for a church that we deem “good enough,” “biblical enough,” or “hip enough” until, alas, it is not.
Instead of allowing our roots to grow deep, deep into a community of faith where there will most certainly be:
- Mess, and beauty,
- Reminders of our sin, and glimpses of Jesus,
- Mourning of inevitable loss, and being surprised by new hope,
- Yearning for more evidence of God amongst us, and then realizing that God’s Kingdom has been bursting forth all around us in surprising, and unexpected ways.
I mean, if we really stop and think about it, when all is said and done, as we reflect back on our own lives as followers of Jesus and we prepare to step into life-eternal, what do we hope we will see?
A life that reveals an endless pursuit for the perfect church, the perfect pastor, the perfect people?
Or a life that reveals a journey, not on our own, but with others?
A journey with those who are different than us, and yet, have helped us see the light of Jesus in this world, in themselves, and in us, just as we have helped them see the same.
We get to choose – you do, and I do.
May we choose the long, sometimes difficult, sometimes uncomfortable and sometimes inconvenient journey, together.
Because, in the end, Jesus calls us to a long obedience in the same direction, not on our own, but together, as we hold onto the hope that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion.
Following Jesus, together