Monday, October 30, 2023

I Wonder--October 30

If the Church is not careful it can become too practically-based, or too praxis-oriented. In doing so, the church can move away from its primary calling to dwell in Christ. If we become too practical in our mission work, we could lose the theological underpinning and the call that motivated us to leave the church grounds and care for the community.

From my perspective the temptation is real and we need to pause and consider how we move forward with Christ.  

I witnessed this temptation firsthand here at Bethesda recently in the number of mission programs that we began recently. Bags of food to our community, lunches to children who are out of school for a week, candy at Trunk or Treat, Grief Share support, we could become so focused on the practice of mission that we miss the Christ who walks with us into the community. We could miss the Christ who dwells. 

At Trunk or Treat I saw a familiar face come around the corner. This person, whose name I do not know, received several lunches from us during the second week of October. During that week, I walked to this family's door and handed them a couple brown bag lunches each morning. I handed them a full sack of food on one day. On the final day of the lunch program, we included an invitation to Trunk or Treat which was coming soon. (Seriously who does not like a little Halloween candy!) 

And this family came. 

Did they come for free candy or did they come because we displayed Christ's love for them? 

The only one who knows that answer for certain is God. 

This family and I made eye contact--but in a quiet way. They did not acknowledge me or anyone from the church who brought them food that week. But they did smile ever-so-subtly as their daughter came up for candy, a pumpkin, and a cross necklace. 

Stanley Hauerwas wrote: 

"The most important social task of Christians is to be nothing less than a community capable of forming people with virtues sufficient to witness to God's truth in the world." 

I wonder how often our social practices as a church, or your personal practices, seek to 'witness to God's truth in the world?' 

Maybe take some time and reflect with the Lord about this. . . 

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