Tuesday, February 02, 2010
What’s the vehicle that gets us from point C to point D?
See that above? That’s my old Dodge pickup. Bought it off a friend when he moved out of state. She’s not too pretty to look at, I know. Tires are balding, paint is chipping, the rear bumper is more rust than it is metal, but she does what I need her to do. If I’m going hunting, she gets me from my front door to the land where I chase deer. If I’m hauling a bit of firewood, she’ll go from the trees to my backyard woodpile with as much wood as she can carry. If I need to drag some brush or yard waste downtown to our local drop-off point, she’s there like a champ. Yup, my old truck does a decent enough job of getting me from point A to point B. Not in style, necessarily . . . but point A to point B nevertheless, and that’s what matters to me. So I love my old truck.
It gets me to thinking . . . what’s the vehicle that takes Our Saviour Lutheran not from point A to point B, but from point C to point D? Like many smaller churches in rural areas, we’re finding out that point C (which stands for “churched culture”) just doesn’t automatically work in the way it used to. People in the community don’t just automatically come to church like they might have in decades past. Secular activities and events that used to religiously avoid Wednesday evenings—so that kids and parents could attend a mid-week church service—are now creeping into the calendar even on Sunday mornings. When people in our community need answers or direction in life, “church” is simply not the first solution that pops into their minds. Point C—the “churched culture” era where church was a constant staple in the heartbeat of small-town life—is rapidly passing away over the horizon. We need to get to point D.
Point D (the “D” stands for “disciples of Christ”) is the point we need to go. It’s the point where we gather together weekly for refreshing, strengthening, healing, and equipping so that we can head into our community throughout the rest of the week and be a visible mask of the invisible God to the people we know and love and work with and live with week in and week out. Where we love our neighbors first and then invite them to experience Christ’s love with us. Where we carry God’s precious Word in our hearts, keeping it at the ready for the eventual—but inevitable—time when our neighbors finally ask us, “Why are you always so kind to us?” Where week in and week out our lives are genuinely transformed by Christ’s redeeming love, and so it is the most natural thing in the world that we would desire that the people we know and love and work with and live with would come to know His love, too.
What’s the vehicle that gets us from point C to point D? Does it have to be shiny and new? Trendy and hip? Cutting-edge and attention-grabbing?
Or could that vehicle be something plain and ordinary? Something that looks a bit unattractive on the surface, maybe a bit worn around the edges . . . and yet something that when used, becomes much appreciated and well-loved? Could the vehicle that takes us from a declining “churched culture” to a thriving “disciples of Christ” be something as simple, as plain, as ordinary as God’s Word?
If that Word is learned and loved, if we load our burdens into that Word and let it carry them, if we use that Word to pursue a different kind of large game, if we talk about it and write it down and wear it upon our hearts and live it out in our lives and talk about it with our children as we come and go down the road . . . then yes. Yes, I believe it can. And yes . . . I believe it will.
Lord, let us love Your Word, and use it to make us disciples of Your Son.