Friday, 21 September 2012

Are You Sitting Comfoirtably?

To be blunt, the past 12-18 months have been quite difficult times for me and my family (and next Friday I get made redundant with no job on the horizon yet). Part of the difficulty has been church-related. I don't want to retread old ground- things were said about me which were untrue and hurtful, but that is something I moved on from.

At that point, which was a spiritual low point, I needed to find somewhere to worship that was centred on Jesus and the Bible, and quickly I did.

In time, I got to know people, and started to look forward to when I would feel comfortable there. Was I wrong to do this? Why was I still not feeling totally comfortable?

Now, you might think I am being negative here. Am I saying I think I chose the wrong church? Am I saying it's time to look for another one?

Actually- I am saying exactly the opposite.

To be honest, when you read the New Testament there is little of "follow Jesus and be comfortable". Actually, there is much less than little. Following Jesus isn't about church flower contests, making sure you make your Christmas pudding on "Stir Up Sunday" and getting the warm fuzzies on Sunday morning.

It's tough. It's facing ridicule. It's sometimes being a man alone (or a woman alone) in situations where the crowd is going one direction. It's taking a stand.

We are starting a series called DNA and the focus is on "Missional Communities"- the vision will be fleshed out over the autumn. We were asked to write on sheets of paper on the wall our views on what we heard last night.

My comment was "It's radical". And so it should be. This idea of a deeper sharing of lives, being a community that looks upwards (to God), inwards (to ourselves) and outwards (to the world). This ain't a vision that would ever find its place alongside "More weak tea and cucumber sandwiches, vicar?"

There is going to be something edgy about it, pushing the spiritual envelope.

Look at the accounts in the book of Acts of early Christian gatherings. Would you want to be there? It wouldn't be a nip off to church and then back to have your Sunday lunch having had a "lovely time".

Are you sitting comfortably in your church? Then maybe it's time to ask yourself what's gone wrong. It should be uncomfortable to a degree, it should be a place and time where God convicts and challenges.

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