“I am licensed to drive a car, and I can balance my own checking account, figure out how to make a living, meet my deadlines, raise my children, be married, own a house, tight my income, be Jesus to the people on my block, take part in national and local elections, and order whatever I like at a restaurant, even if it is in Italian – all without the daily and hourly supervision of a priest or minister.”
Robert Benson, 'In Constant Prayer' Ch 7 page 93 (emphasis is mine).
One year the group of people who made up the church in Manchester that I was pastoring at the time decided that during Advent that year all the church's mid-week meetings would be cancelled. It wasn't just that there would be no home groups or youth meetings…we decided that we would actively go out into the community to see what was going on, and maybe even join in.
Some of us never recovered from the experience…and a number of local clubs and societies gained regular and active members, while some of our church groups shrunk in size. We reckoned it was a good exchange, as Jesus (through the members of his 'body'), went out into the community and built relationships with people, rather than staying behind the walls of our church. Jesus always found ways to be out there where the people are anyway…it was nice for us to join in for a change!
A few days ago the devotional reading in my daily prayers was this quote:
“Matthew had met Jesus and wanted all his friends to meet the Master too. What could he do? He could do the one thing he really knew how to do well – he could throw a party. People always enjoyed his parties. So he threw a big party and invited everyone – Jesus could do the rest.
Why can we not just do the same – lay aside time-consuming religious activities, and spend time with people we like, instead.”
Celtic Daily Prayer, Finan Reading for August 17th, based on Matthew 9: 9-10
How can you…how can I…”be Jesus to the people on my block”?
What's stopping me? What things need to be surrendered or reorganised so that I can make “being Jesus spending time with people” a priority?
What do you think?