Thursday, September 19, 2013

Meeting Jesus for the First Time Again

As a pastor, one of the things I like to point out in the Gospels is that Jesus never sets preconditions on meeting with him, yet no one who meets Jesus stays the same. Some who meet him get healed, some get confused, and some get angry, but no one shrugs him off. Everyone is welcome to meet with Jesus and whoever does is changed. 

I think we often get this backwards in the church: we set conditions for meeting Jesus and then expect that nothing will change. 

I mean that many churches often give off vibes that say "if you want to come here, you need to dress this way, believe this, and act like us"and then participate in unquestioned rituals and pick out the pieces of the message that reinforce what we already believe. I don't think any of this is done maliciously; I think we do it because it makes us comfortable and we gravitate toward communities that are comfortable with the same ideas we have.

But Jesus in the Gospels doesn't seem to be concerned with "comfort" that maintains the status quo. He talks about a comfort that comes with the reign of God -- which is currently under construction.

What would it mean for the church if we assumed that when we gathered in Jesus' name, we would be changed? That we would leave feeling uncomfortable with the status quo? That unexpected things were to happen when gathered? What if we expected to leave confused like Nicodemus (John 3), only to return later (John 19:39) to honor the one who had challenged our thinking?

“But a dream makes noise” -Josh Joplin Group, “Undone”

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