As I sit this morning, in one of the many places of worship in our city, thinking of all the variety of churches on almost every corner of America, I cannot help but think that our lifestyles may have brought us to a new level of theological deprivation. The Sabbath, instead of being a time of rest from, or celebration of our own personal ministry within the marketplaces of our lives, might have become for many a form of entertainment . Possibly trying to create some emotional facsimile of the Spirit, hoping to assure that our religion is not in vain.
We gather weekly, often empty and hollow, if not numb from a materialistic life and the recession that deprives us of our perceived entitlement. Though our truthful role as joint heirs with Christ has long been relinquished, with little evidence of the dramatic impact we once held out as the “Acts” of the Church. Certainly without the technology of today’s medical community, our testimonies of “prayerful” recovery would be diminished.
Whether by traditional hymns, prose or for some, contemporary concert-like praise bands, we attempt to bring ourselves toward some felt experience, which we might equate with a move of God. We pray for the Holy Spirit to descend on us, when in reality He dwells within us, if we are in Christ. In fact, if that be the case, He should have poured out “from” us with the same city impacting forcefulness as was once the experience of the early church, for God does not change.
Meanwhile, the secular media has a heyday as it points out the aberrant strains of Christianity, just as those of other religions, this week in Norway. The love of God is discredited based on the outpouring of some fouled mind or failed religion.
I wonder, if by the time we tire of our most current “transformation”, our sanctuaries will have emptied as did the great cathedrals of Europe, when they ignored the “weak signals” of their religious day?
With each passing reformation we seem to fall back within a few hundred years to the same model of doing church, tweaked only enough to secure another generation but lacking the deep personal change that must come, if our nation and now our globe, is to survive the challenges faced.
God help us to arise from our theological sleep and reach deep within ourselves, and then outward toward those of congregations other than our own, if not other religions; letting the God of love, arise from within us. Then as we “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God” His Kingdom may in fact come, on this Earth as it is in Heaven.