Sunday Morning: Who is the Gospel For?

There is a very small window for perfect oatmeal. The packaging may tell you, “Just steep 3 minutes and enjoy!”, but what it really means is that you need to steep that oatmeal for 3 minutes and 32 seconds. Because one second longer is the difference between tasty goodness and gruel. I don’t know why I share that with you, except to let you know this morning’s gruel has a distinct brown sugar flavor. So we’ll give it a pass.

This morning, I’ve been thinking about the American church & how we are so splintered over various issues. I look at myself and question the decisions I make, the words I speak and wonder if they tear down or build up.

My heart is sad as I consider the way we make the Gospel something that despises the poor – when the poor are exactly who Jesus said the Gospel is for. It angers me to watch churches make idols of wealth and power and relationships. Jesus clearly says it is out of the poverty of our spirit, the brokenness of our flesh, and the persecution we endure for His sake that the Gospel has power.

I am frustrated by a church that has made ministry a lucrative business rather than something that was designed to shake the foundations of the world and lead people to the One who would sustain and keep us.

A while ago, I ran across this quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and I wanted to share it on a Sunday. So that as (or if) people read it, we’d all be reminded that the Church is for all people. It should be the place where forgotten ones find sanctuary and the poor aren’t judged by their smell or the look of their clothes, but that they’re welcomed in and shown Jesus. (Emphasis in the quote mine.)

“Here the light of eternity shines down on those who are ever neglected, insignificant, weak, ignoble, unknown, inferior, oppressed, despised; here it radiates over the houses of prostitutes and tax collectors… Here the light of eternity has been cast on the toiling, struggling and sinning masses. The word of grace spreads across the stale sultriness of the big cities but it halts before the houses of the satisfied, the knowledgeable, and the ” haves” of this world in a spiritual sense. It speaks over the death of individuals and peoples its everlasting word: ‘I have loved you from eternity; remain with Me; thus you will live.’ Christianity preaches the unending worth of the apparently worthless and the unending worthlessness of what is apparently so valuable. The weak shall be made strong through God and the dying shall live…”

 

These words sting as much as the resonate. And I’m chewing on them, considering what they mean for a church that, by and large, seems desires to looking right and put together rather than true and free.

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