Show time

Ephesians 3:1-12

My family jokes about how dramatic I can be.

What can I say? I’ve always had an inclination to be on stage.

Every year up to middle school I was in the school play. Teachers gave me main parts because I was loud and could memorize lines. Then there were the class presentations, talent shows and the drum line. I’ve always had a stage. When I first sensed a calling to pastoral ministry, my first task was to ensure I wasn’t looking for another one.

But, in a way, you and I have a calling to theatre. The church has a stage upon which the world watches. Maybe I could say, the church is a stage. I don’t mean we are to be full of drama and theatrics.

Lord knows we don’t need any more of that.

No, I’m thinking of a comment regarding a passage from Ephesians 3. The verse says, “so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (3:10). That suggests the wisdom of God displays through us, the church, the mystery of God even to the heavens. Angels are even learning from us!

The comment I wanted to share is this: “the Church of Christ is the grand theatre in which the divine wisdom is most signally displayed.”

Now, we aren’t putting on a show, as if we were merely acting out some play. But we are enacting the great truth of God. That, in Christ, God has united all people in love and salvation. If we aren’t showing that, we’re not being the church. At least, not God’s church.

So, our ministries should include everyone. Our worship should be for everyone. Our welcome to anyone and everyone who God brings to us should be one of the enactments we prioritize.

Again, we aren’t play acting. As the grace of God enfolds us more, we are displaying to the world how that grace lives.

Stay blessed…john

A Christmas opportunity

1 John 5:1-12

The church misses a grand opportunity to witness to the world when we’re quick to skip Christmas.

Actually, we don’t skip it. We do a good job of building up the hype for it. It’s almost a badge of honor now to provide multiple Christmas Eve worship services. It’s not unusual to plan these services for months. Now, I’m all for adequate preparation, but then everything stops.

Christmas comes and we seem to move on with everyone else.

I’m sure this is something you’ve heard me say before in some fashion. I don’t bring it up because I’m the biggest liturgical czar. We just complain about the wrong things. Think about how upset people get at stores for selling Christmas merchandise early. The stores stock what they’re sure they can sell.

Dumping the holiday on Christmas Day and leaving it for next year is a more worthy gripe. Not because we need something to complain about. Again, because we’re missing a chance to show the world something important.

At the heart of Christmas is Emmanuel–God with us. That’s what we celebrate, right? That God came to us in Jesus to show us abundant life and draw us in communion with the Lord. The central event is the life and ministry of Jesus.

Considering what Jesus did with his life, in a sense, the fruit of Christmas is the church. Much like Jesus was God in the flesh for the world, the church is Jesus in the flesh for the world. Our faith becomes a visible outpouring of God with us.

Skipping through to New Year’s only joins our voices in the culture’s choir. As such, we’re singing to gifts and parties and hopes for snow. Reflecting more, however, on the fruit of Christmas allows for us to bear witness to the unity of God’s church. We give a testimony. We are a testimony.

Our desire for experiencing the presence of God shows the world there is much more to see. Yes, we can talk about that any time of the year. But this season offers a wonderful illustration for us. 

Scripture tells us we have victory over the world. In Christ, we conquer the world not by might or power, but in love and unity. Love and unity God reminds us of at Christmas as we remember the Christ Child.

Stay blessed…john