Here is a litany (responsive reading) that I wrote and that we used in our church this past Sunday. We have been talking about who we are as a church and who we are not (dispelling some of the myths about church). We used this (underscored by soft guitar) in the middle of two praise choruses.
The Church’s Identity
It is a lie of the world that the Church is nothing more than a building.
We are the body of Christ –
seeing both smiles and tears,
hearing laughter and sobbing,
smelling home-cooked meals and the stench of filth,
tasting both victory and defeat,
reaching out to touch all with the love of Jesus.
It is a lie of the world that the Church is about religion (rituals, rules, and regulations).
We are invited into a relationship –
A relationship with the God who heals and restores,
A relationship with all humanity,
A relationship with all of creation.
It is a lie of the world that the Church is similar to an exclusive Country Club, letting some in while keeping others out.
We are the family of God –
brothers and sisters,
made one in Jesus Christ.
It is a lie of the world that the Church is a beauty pageant – a parade of perfect people with perfect lives.
We are a work in progress,
a gathering of imperfect sinners,
being renewed and transformed a little more each day
into the image of our Savior Jesus.
It is a lie of the world that the Church should be a showcase for the latest technology.
We are God’s storytellers –
using all forms of media
to tell and retell God’s story of creation,
of God’s faithfulness to Israel,
of the life, death and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus,
of the sending of the Holy Spirit,
and the hope of Christ’s return.
It is a lie of the world that the Church should be a fashion show of outward beauty.
We strive for a deeper beauty –
the beauty of the inward heart,
the beauty of a purity and righteousness,
the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.
It is a lie of the world that the Church is dominated by the economics of earthly wealth.
We strive for the wealth from above –
the wealth of relationships,
the wealth of treasures laid up in heaven,
an economy where the last is first and the first is last.
It is a lie of the world that the Church is a democracy, ruled by the opinions of the majority.
We pledge allegiance to God alone –
we worship for God’s glory rather than our own preferences,
we do missions to spread God’s love rather than our own fame,
we teach God’s truth rather than our own opinion.
To Him be the glory in the church
and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,
forever and ever. Amen.