I don’t like standing in lines. I know, it’s a part of life, but I just don’t like to wait. However, I’ve grown up in the age of iPhone releases, Black Friday sales, rock concerts, and Walt Disney vacations. It seems that people have no problem waiting in line for those things that they deem to be important. They will crowd the door and trample anyone in their way for a shot at scoring a great deal on the latest new gadget.
This past Sunday, the Connexion service at FBC looked at a story from the Gospel of Mark describing the attractional nature of Jesus. Mark describes it this way: “When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was” (Mark 6:54). At one point in the passage, it describes the crowds anticipating where Jesus was going to be and running to get there ahead of him. I have to admit, I don’t think I’ve had anyone so anxious to hear one of my sermons that they beat me to the church and were waiting with eager anticipation for the Good News to be proclaimed.
That being said, I can’t help but ask: Why not?
In researching this scripture, I came across the following passage that really got me to wondering about how we are doing in fulfilling our task as the Body of Christ in the world. How are we being the Good News to the world?
“This is not how a contemporary congregation typically experiences the neediness of the world in which it is a part. Persons in search of healing are far more likely to seek out therapists, physicians, self-help books, and prescription drugs than to enter a church building. Perhaps this is because persons outside the church do not recognize Christ’s healing presence within communities of faith . . . If the church today is unrecognizable as a place of healing, then we need to reflect on what our mission and purpose in the world are and how we communicate the good news of God’s healing grace in this time and place.” (Karen Yust)
Ouch! I wonder, what has been your primary experience of the church? Have you experienced the Church as a place of healing? Have you experienced the Church as a place of pain? I would love to hear your stories.