WE are losing our nation.
“WE” are the Church...those who have identified ourselves with Jesus Christ who carry the title “Christian” and who are charged with responsibility to influence the culture in which we live. Current data indicates that the cultural influence WE are charged to exercise is either not being delivered or is watered down beyond recognition.
Our nation has never been challenged as it is today. Yet, the greatest threat to the health and security of the United States is not nuclear proliferation of a rogue regime in the Middle East. It is not terrorism. It is not fluctuations of world economy. It is not one political philosophy or another.
The greatest threat to America sits in church pews every Sunday morning across the land. Persons who call themselves Christians have so embraced the influences of culture that there is no longer any distinguishable difference between their lives and the lives of those who make no such claim.
Why is that a threat? Because, in Christ, WE have access to the most powerful transformational healing power the world has ever known, and, generally speaking, WE neglect its’ employment in our communities. That neglect borders on criminal negligence...possessing the ability to prevent or avoid danger and to neglect or willfully refuse to exercise that ability with needless disregard for human life.
Guilty or not guilty?
What is the real purpose of your church? No...not the one written on some document hanging in the hallway or carved in stone on the front steps or the one of which you speak from Matthew, chapter 28.
I ask an honest assessment of the real but unspoken purpose among the majority those who gather this Sunday? Is that purpose primarily Christ-centric...externally focused upon intentional expansion of influence outside the church? Or, is it primarily church-centric...internally focused upon the gathering and benefits experienced by those gathered inside the church?
Jesus was clear on the importance of effective external influence...”For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.
Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?
And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me! ...I tell you the truth,when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” (Matthew 25:35-40, 45 NLB)
THEY watch, hungry or lonely or scared or despondent as WE go to church. And, THEY don’t believe WE are serious.
WE have some adjustments to make...NOW. A nation is at stake.
(Note: a magnificent exception to this general observation occurred in April 2011 as thousands of trained volunteer responders...men and women of faith...poured into devastated areas of Alabama following severe tornado strikes. Their chainsaws sang hymns and their field kitchens taught scripture.)