Monday, September 17, 2012

Getting called out...

My personal reading these days is Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship. This is my first time reading this classic and is really challenging me in a number of ways. This morning as I sat in my favorite coffee shop I read the words below and was moved to posted them on Facebook.

‎"Since the ascension, Christ's place on earth has been taken by his Body, the Church. The Church is the real presence of Christ. Once we have realized this truth we are well on the way to recovering an aspect of the Church's being which has been sadly neglected in the past. We should think of the Church not as an institution but as a person, though a person in a unique sense."

I am used to getting a  token amount of "likes" when I post stuff like this. But this time I got called my mother. She wrote, "OK pastor son, now speak to your people about specific ways to do this. Seldom is this fleshed out when we talk about it." 

Indeed one of the things that I appreciate about my mother is that while she has the ability to think deeply, what is important to her is that thoughts don't stay so deep that they don't ever result in action. Theology cannot stay on the mountain, it must be worked out by the people - a quote like this needs to be unpacked and reflected on if it is to truly be profound and life-changing. 

What you will find below are just a few thoughts that I have about what this quote might look like in real life. I know that my thoughts are not exhaustive in anyway, and will be limited to only a few ideas, so I invite you as the reader to add your own by leaving a comment. Let's think this through together! 

  • Recognizing that the Church is "the real presence of Christ" should wake us up to the reality that we are Christ to our whomever we have relationships with. This should move us to reject the temptation to withdraw from our society, but instead become more involved with it. And...we may need to do some reconciliation work for any sins we have committed in the past. 
  • We should be looking for opportunities to embody the love of Christ in tangible ways and looking for opportunities to invite them to know Christ for themselves. We will look to the example of Christ and realize that this is not something you can do from a distance, but will be personal, and sometimes messy. Jesus' ministry wasn't neat and tidy and neither should ours. 
  • When we realize that the Church is not an institution, we will stop thinking in terms of who is in and who is out as if we were a club.  Rather we will think in terms in terms of relationships and desire that we be helping people move closer to Christ.
  • We will realize that there is way more to the Church than meeting on a Sunday. Being a part of the Church, the Body of Christ, is a way of life that requires all of who we are. 

1 comment:

  1. I love where you are aiming at with this Josh, but I'll nudge back to your Mom's response of specific ways? what are ways you see this opportunity/responsibility?