I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on love and community and the early church and comparing all of that to the church as it looks now. Okay, so I’ve been doing that for a long time. Hence Jesus Is Knocking.
I started out just looking at whether or not the modern day church is known for it’s love and what I found is, we’re not! So I started looking at why not. What I found was gossip, backbiting, divorce, judgment and lot of other things that characterize the world rather than what Jesus taught. So I decided that we needed to start looking at how we treated each other before we started looking at what we were doing beyond our walls.
Jesus agrees. In fact, He’s the one who originally said it. John 13:35 records Jesus telling His disciples that people would know who His disciples are by the love they have for one another, not how they love others, but each other. And then Acts records that people were drawn to followers of Christ not because they were so generous to those outside the Church, but to each other!
Now, this does not diminish Jesus also telling His disciples that they should give to others generously, that He sent us on the great mission of evangelism, or that history records that over time people have been drawn to Christianity because of the generosity and love shown to all people. But it does clarify things. If we’re not loving each other first and foremost, we’re not going to draw anyone to Christ no matter how many programs we have.
Think about it, no one wants to be a part of a family that is abusive or negligent. That family will be rejected if they looked at adopting and no matter how many times people were invited over, they wouldn’t want to come. Why would anyone be impressed by the show if they know that the family is always at each others’ throats, so-to-speak?
Today I heard something on the radio that I’m sure many people thought was wonderful. It made me cry. There’s a church in West Virginia that has an annual bike rally to draw the bikers to the church. There was a statement about needing “new bate” for these folks so they drive a motorcycle through the sanctuary (apparently). They have over 100 bikes in the parking lot on that Sunday.
Sounds great, I guess. But what about the other 51 Sundays? Why wouldn’t these same bikers want to come the other weeks? Do they really need “new bate” or do they need to see the “old bate,” the oldest bate there is, God’s love within and between the people who are already gathered there? It’s what drew people in 2000 years ago without fancy gimmicks or great speaking or even a building. Just thousands of people trying to learn how to love each other with the love of Christ.
So I say, let’s start where Jesus told us to start. Let’s start loving each other. What do you think?