Thursday, July 28, 2016

THE DIVINE CALL TO BREAK HABITUALISM

Jesus was Father breaking into the landscape of His own creation.  God had created us; yet had never experienced the human side of His genius.  Thus, the arrival of Jesus to find out what it is like to become hungry/full, fatigued/rested, and rejected/loved as a created earthling.  This is a most brilliant move of God's many brilliances.

What got Jesus in the most hot water is that he wouldn't march to the cadence of religious tradition.  For those of us who regard ourselves as religious, we must take note.  He was hated for it.  Tradition that isn't of God is habitualism gone dead.  Little has changed over the centuries.  The dilemma in Jesus' day remains intact and is as strong as ever.

The problem with tradition is that it woos the heart into a pseudo-religious participation where one knows church operations; but does not know Jesus.  He said as much in John 5:39ff.  He lived as much on every page of the gospels.  Jesus--perfect innocent Jesus--was beaten to a public pulp because he refused to do the religious dance of meaningless and deadening going-through-the-motions routine. Furthermore, he died to stop it.

In 2016....nothing is has changed.  The challenge remains problematic; not to unbelievers, but to habitual church attendees who can slip into a mode of contribution (a bit of time/a bit of money/a bit of serving) but not complete hunger to know God. This concern is quite personal to me due to the persistent temptation of my own to keep the religious plates a-spinning without time in prayer to, study of, and relationship with Father.  Anyone else with me on this?

A clear message of Jesus was for man to break the habit of doing church in form only. His call is for each of us to be church in reach to/love of others.  The difference is that the former lives by checklist from Sunday to Sunday while the latter enters into zones of inadequacy and risk in trying to bring hope to strugglers; many who are complete strangers.

Just as was true of Jesus on earth, we are called by God to die to ourselves that others could have a new hope of becoming a new sort of people.  Our message isn't just hope to die and go to heaven which is often presented which seems to permit a detachment or a disengagement with society and her needs.  No, our true message is that people can experience life in dead settings, plus see blessing arise when there seems to be no hope, today.

We are very seriously challenged in a time of great and significant need.  The world is drowning in hopelessness while religion continues to offer anemic habitualism which is lifeless; both to the activist and to the onlooker.  I am so able to slip into my daily mode of responding to demands and exercising ministerial actions.  Yet I, too, am called to intentionally look beyond my comfortable ministerial habits and try to imagine with God what can be done to bring a fresh new start to a weary neighbor.

You, too....a bit like me....maybe?


1 comment:

Melissa Smith said...

Oh Terry, you are speaking exactly what is burdening my heart right now. How, as leaders, do we guide others toward Jesus and out of habitualism? Especially when most only experience Jesus through Sunday morning worship and won't come to anything else? Sometimes I want to walk away and spend my time only on the helpless and weary and leave the religious to themselves. How do you not stay discouraged and continue to try? Hope in change sometimes feels lost. My joy is that discougement leads me ever closer to Him which is the best place to be! Maybe the song is true and maybe His blessings come through rain drops and healing comes through tears.