Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!

Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!
For those of you who would like to support the vision & ministry of Woodland Hills Community Church (the faith community I serve that continues to encourage me to minister outside the box), please click on the link just above.

Tuesday, July 14

Today’s Readings: Psalm 15; 1 Samuel 31:1-13; Mark 4:1-9; Ephesians 4:1-6; Psalm 6

Christians in the United States have – from their earliest days on the continent – made a practice of separating themselves from those who are different from themselves. Almost immediately upon landing upon the continent, for instance, Christians separated themselves based upon skin color. Shortly thereafter, Christians made a practice of separating Protestants from Catholics. And not long after that, Protestants went berserk and started separated themselves along nearly every other line you could think of (i.e. geographical region of the country, country of origin, style of worship, language used in worship, you name it!!!). This means that over the last 400 years, we have nearly lost our ability to stretch ourselves and co-exist with other Christians who see things differently than we do. Sadly, this evolution represents a radical departure from the vision that was laid out for us in today’s passage from Ephesians. “You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction,” the author states, “so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness” (Ephesians 4:4-6 from The Message). So how do we get back on track? How do we reverse the trend to separate ourselves from those who are different? The most comfortable way for us to accomplish this would be to bring resolutions to our denominational meetings that mandate this happen. Many of our denominations have already taken this feel-good approach. I think such an approach would be a HUGE cop out. Instead, I believe the effort to get the church back on track must begin with the people inside our local churches. They must stretch themselves and build relationships in their daily lives with people who are different from themselves. Next, they need to bring these diverse relationships into the worshipping community so that the relationships begin to effect change in the life of our local churches. Lastly, the witness of our local churches should create so much pressure on our denominational bodies that they are forced to respond to the changing reality. Living into the vision put forth to us from Ephesians must be a grass roots effort. Otherwise, those visionary words from Ephesians will remain what they have been in most of our local churches for centuries: empty rhetoric. Today, I challenge you to begin doing your part by cultivating relationships in your life with those who look, act, think, and worship differently than you do. That simple gesture of one person could help transform the church – both locally and globally! Til next time…

No comments: