So, the original invitation was simple,
clear and good To “love the Lord God with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.” And…to “love your neighbor as yourself.” It cut through the rules. It challenged the
religious “experts.” It invited us to serve God…and one
another. Simple…clear… and good—in a
complicated world. That’s when the early church found itself
acting with courage to serve the common good. When Christians in community became
agents of justice, mercy, compassion…and change. The faith of the church was its source.
Faith offered the path to a simple “Way” Love God. Love neighbor. And good things grew from it. The church was a game changer. In
education. In healthcare. In fighting poverty. In human rights. In showing up in the midst of disaster. Many found their vocation—their purpose
and passion—in answering God’s call… as the hands and heart of Christ in the
world. But not always. Sometimes the church didn’t do the right
thing… Sometimes the church let us down big
time. The church is full of problems, right?
Because the church is full of people. And even the church is perfectly capable
of breaking our hearts. Maybe you’ve noticed? Sometimes it feels like even the church
has lost its Way. Remember? “Love God. Love neighbor.” Sounds good. But sometimes we don’t
feel welcome, seen, heard, or inspired. Instead of real, it feels repressive. Instead
of engaging, it feels empty. Seriously. So we have a right to ask: “Is this still a
place where I can make a difference?” Is this a place where my gifts and my
voice will be honored, and where I can be a leader. “Is the church still a game changer…or
has it just totally lost us?” So, we are forced to ask the question. Do we stay…or walk away? Well… …in spite of all its flaws…the
church is still our church. We can make it a place where we find
signs of life. Of love. Where something good might still be
waiting for us and generations to come. Where people—however broken and
divided—find a way to come together. The church can be a place where we ask
the biggest questions…under a very big roof… …and share the stories of our
lives—across generations…and differences. So what do we do now? What will you
do? Maybe what we all need to do now is take
a step back. To the beginning. When things were
simple. When, once again, we bring heart, soul
and mind to be agents of: justice, mercy, compassion, diversity, change… Renewal. You and I can be leaders of the church.
And together we can create a church where no one’s an outsider. A church that cares for others. A church
that serves the common good. Where we’re still the hands and heart of
Christ. In the streets. The schools. The shelters.
In the parks. The pulpit. The clinics. Standing with the abused. The neglected.
The lost. Love God. Love Neighbor.