Sunday, November 28, 2010

body language

Everyone knows about body language.  You can sometimes tell how someone feels just by the way their body reacts.  The movements of the body send a message.  Sometimes this message comes without words.  Sometimes it the body sends a message that is contrary to the words expressed.  In fact, unless the body is disabled in some way, it usually tells the truth even when the tongue speaks lies.  As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

We are the body of Christ.  What are we saying about who Christ is?  Do our actions demonstrate the words He spoke?  Or do we make Him out to be a liar by our body language.  Be sure, Christ is the truth though every man may be a liar.  

What does our "body language" say about what Christ is building?  Christ is not building a structure of bricks and mortar.  He is building a temple of living stones.  Christ is not displayed in organised institutions, he is displayed through humble love and service.  We may claim that our efforts of participation in the local church structures are building up the body of Christ but in fact they only build up the institution.  The Church is the people and our efforts must be toward one another or we are not building up the true Church.  Rather we are building up some THING and calling IT church.  If we love this thing more than the organic expression of Christ then we make the bride of Christ into a harlot and Christ into a liar.  He is building His church.  The Church WILL express him through its body language.

church refugee

If you didn't already know, my family and I have been house churching for a few months now.  It has been a bumpy and difficult road so far.  Leaving the structure of organised institutional religious gatherings brought us into a realm of uncertainty, discomfort, and complexity.  It is like becoming a nomad and roaming through the wilderness.  I press on with the hope of reaching my destination...the paradise of my dreams.  What that paradise looks like is uncertain.  My dreams are hazy.  All I know for sure is that it is not full of rituals, it is full of life and God's work in our lives will define the order of our gathering rather than the bulletin.  Christ will clearly be the head of his body and He would be free to use the members of it when and how he pleases.  I only know one way to get there:  forsake all to follow Christ and trust that He will bring me to my destination.  I don't expect perfection this side of heaven.  I expect continual growth in Christ and unity in Him.

Toward that end we have been spending alot of time with some families in our neighborhood lately.  Getting to know them and opening up our lives to them.  Today we have planned to have a "church gathering".  I'm not even sure what that means anymore.  As we have gathered over the last few weeks, we have been the church.  We have shown love toward one another, prayed for one another, shared truths with one another, served one another, and challenged one another toward better living.  What I am most excited about is that there will be an opportunity to bring all things together in Christ and have all of the events of these past weeks brought into the light of God's kingdom and purpose in our lives.  I'm sure we will pray, read and discuss scripture and of course eat together and our conversation will be more about spiritual matters than our previous ones.  Yet my hope is that today's gathering will spill over into what we do the rest of the week and that Christ would become more of a central focus in all our lives each and everyday.  If that happens, what makes Sunday so special?

I am excited yet uncertain.  We are getting closer and that is uncomfortable.  It seems so simple yet so complex because it is so different from all that the ways I have previously defined what the Church is.

I am hopeful but needful of much prayer. If I am in the wilderness I do not want an 11 day journey to last 40 years.

It's late and I'm rambling...gotta get some rest.  Gonna need it to continue my journey.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Living stones

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
(1 Peter 2:4-5 ESV)
What do you think it means to be "living stones"?  I have been meditating on this and have read in several places recently where this imagery is mentioned.  The more I think about it, the more it intrigues me.

A few thoughts for you to ponder with me comparing bricks with stones: 
  • stones are made by God as opposed to bricks which are mixed and baked my man for usefulness.
  • Men reject the stones and instead make bricks to build with but in the sight of God these stones are chosen and precious building materials. 
  • Bricks are easily managed, broken and manipulated as building materials as long as the builders have a suitable mortar mixture.
To multiply the significance of this comparison there is the way that stones are made suitable for building in the temple.  All of the stones sharp and protuding edges must be broken off and grinded down until it fits well against the stone next to it.  The stones are held together by friction and not man-made mortar.   They are unified and immovable once they have been chiseled and shaped and placed among other prepared stones.  Historians tell us theat the second temple at the time of Jesus' ministry had stones in it with no mortar to hold them together but were so close that not even a piece of paper could come between them.

WE are living stones built up as a spiritual house, chosen and precious.  We are being chiseled and broken to look more like Christ so that we are built into a suitable dwelling place that the fullness of the Godhead would be pleased to dwell.  Death to self and life in Christ.  Jesus demonstrates and teaches us that unless one dies to self we cannot grow and bear fruit.  As living stones we are shaped to fit into the place that God has prepared for us in His house.  Built together with one another the friction that results from our being so close grinds off the rough edges so that we fit together even better.  In the way of grinding off the pieces that are not of Christ we are more unified, a corporate body made up of parts with Christ as head.  A house that our creator dwells in.  Do you get that?  He doesn't just visit once a week on Sunday morning, He dwells there.  He lives there.  He abides there and we are made suitable building materials by suffering and death to self to give place to Christ.  Not by man-made structures and schemes designed to make better mortar and bricks.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Move that Bus!

I haven't been blogging over the last few days because I have been very busy working on the Extreme Home Makeover project in Savannah.  It has been a very enjoyable experience.  I have worked nearly 32 hours on the house in three days and soon they will be screaming "move that bus!!"  Many thanks to all the volunteers and donors for all the hard work and support needed to accomplish such a monumental task.  It has been really crazy.  Now I am taking a day off to rest and I hope to also get over my illness.  Ms. Blue Eyes is over at the site now cheering on the crews as they finish up the final touches and gear up for the reveal.  I look forward to getting back into my regular routine soon.