Early morning musings-
For the radical, unradicals. Keep going!
Sometimes Church is hard, but it was never going to be easy. Jesus never had it easy but if God loves the Church, then we should too. And when I say the church, I don’t mean that stuffy building with pews in, or the school hall where you meet or even the fancy new Warehouse with all the latest technology and coffee as good as Costa. When I say Church, I mean the people of God. People – those broken, sinful folk, each with their different experience of life, some born into wealth, some born into poverty, some born into chaos, some just walked into chaos. People who are super clever, people who cannot read or write, people who you immediately click with, people with whom it takes years to know and love. People just like you and me.
Different people. But the same people.
When Church is made up of people who look and think and feel just like ourselves, it might seem easier in many ways but we do miss out on what the Kingdom of God is truly like. Surely, the Kingdom of God is more like a bunch of imperfect misfits who love each other despite their differences?
I’m writing this blog for me. I’m preaching these truths to my heart.
God knows my heart is to see His Kingdom Come in the little place I live. I want to know Jesus more and I want others to know Jesus. This is what drives me, albeit imperfectly. I desire other things too, a lovely home, to see beautiful things – any kind of life growing, the sea, autumn leaves. I recognise some times the desire for these things lead to sin in my heart. My heart is sinful too, yes. Just like everyone else.
But last night I realised why sometimes I feel like I don’t fit in.
I long to be surrounded by other radicals. Imperfect people who are longing for Gods kingdom come, just like me. People who will turn up to the prayer meeting because their desire to see salvation is greater than their desire to rest. People who face struggles and difficulties but will put them aside for the sake of the Kingdom.
Don’t get me wrong these people do exist in abundance within the Church and some people are so busy serving and loving their little families right now – that this is their ministry. This is their seeking Gods kingdom first.
But still, I long to be surrounded by the radicals cheering me on as I cheer them on. Together stepping out in faith for the sake of the gospel. I long for the adventure of following Jesus – more than anything I long for God to stretch out his arm and bring salvation to this place.
But then I think of the greatest radical of all. Jesus.
No imperfection there. He left heaven itself to step into our messy world. My radical is no radical at all compared to his. My sacrifice is nothing, zero, emptiness in comparison to the sacrifice Christ made for me.
Christ came into the world to save sinners. Sinners who would not give their Creator the time of day. Even Jesus’ closest followers fell asleep during the prayer meeting and denied him when it came to the crunch. This is the kind of never giving up love God has for us.
Christ gave up his life so that we, who are dead might have life.
And here’s an incredible truth,
Christ came to serve. Not to be served. Jesus doesn’t need my help. Jesus doesn’t need me to be at the prayer meeting for him to stretch out his arm. But, he does long for it. He longs for me to walk hand in hand with him. He longs that I would know him more, trust him more. Step out in faith in him more.
And if Jesus served the Church, washed the dirty feet of those who didn’t really understand his power and majesty. If Jesus laid down his life for a people who would be slow to understand, fail to love and worship him as they should – then I will serve the church too.
My service is full of sin, like dirty rags compared to the perfection of the way Jesus serves and yet he invites me to join in with what he is doing.
Jesus loves the church. As my good friend Esther puts it, the Church is Gods plan A for his kingdom come. That messy group of people who get it wrong so often, who make it all about us rather than God – yes, we are his bride! Made perfect through the cross. The unlovely made lovely. So maybe being radical is loving the church like Jesus does, serving the church like Jesus does and laying down all the rest.
If God loves the Church then so do I.