Our worship focus through June will be on the book, “Having Nothing, Possessing Everything,” by Rev. Michael Mather. The book brings forward a unifying question that is pertinent for us in this seasons of social distancing and COVID-19 concern: “What makes us the church?” With so many churches and business trying to return to life as “normal,” Mather's book begs the question, what if returning to normal isn’t the call for the church?
Whatever your worry – whatever binds you from being everything God has created you to be – through the power of God in Jesus Christ, you are loosed. The love of God in Jesus Christ frees you from all that keeps you from living into God’s will for your life. And there is but one proper response: the community rejoices. Your freedom is my freedom; Jesus’ freedom is our freedom.
God has blessed this world with more than we would ever need. And yet, so many still go without. As Christ was our example, our call is not to offer temporary relief that retains one’s oppression, but to offering freeing love that gives new life.
As we consider what it means to be a Community Catalyst, what does that look like in the world today where the church is not the withholder of power, but still proclaims God’s power? How does the church not be the gatekeeper of grace, but still proclaims our freedom from sin and death, made possible by grace? How does the church not require acclimation, but still proclaims Christ as the truth and the way? How does the church actively work as Christ did, to free the oppressed, to heal the sick, to give life to the dying, while not claiming glory or attention for ourselves, but giving thanks to God in heaven above?
The reason the American Dream is such a farce, is that America started with a vision that not all people were created equal – regardless what the Constitution says. But as the church, as God’s people, we are called to proclaim God’s love for all people, and that means speaking up for and sharing God’s love with those who are treated as outcasts.
The Spirit isn’t sent to make us comfortable. The Spirit isn’t sent to pat us on the back for the work that we’ve already done. The Spirit is sent that we might break down any barrier, any power, any divide that separates any person from true life and mutual love. This work starts with you. This work starts with me. It starts with our own heavy lifting to understand why the world is the way it is today. It starts with our naming our own complacency with the unequal society that we live in.
God’s desire for the world is not that a few succeed, while the many suffer. God’s desire is for us all to thrive as one body, as one people, as one creation who live and love in a peaceable union. This was not the world before COVID-19, and it is not the world today. So yes, we have work to do, essential work to do, and it does not take our gathering in this building to do that work.