Freedom & Family
INSTEAD OF BURDENSOME SPIRITUAL TO-DO LISTS, OUR CITY NEEDS THE GOOD NEWS OF A SAVIOR WHO RECKLESSLY LOVES BOTH THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS & THE REBEL, AND TO EXPERIENCE THE CHURCH AS A FAMILY ONE BELONGS TO, INSTEAD OF A MERELY A RITUALISTIC SERVICE WE ATTEND.
As one who lived and taught in a time and place steeped in religion, Jesus shocked his hearers with good news of God’s gracious heart for all people. Jesus destroyed the notion that God is someone to be satisfied and made happy through religious behavior or ceremonies. The most spiritually devoted people of Jesus’ day were stunned to hear that their righteous resumes were worthless and the community outcasts were elated to find themselves welcomed to the table to eat with Jesus as loved and valued guests.
Jesus knew that, whether righteous or rebellious, we’re all deeply flawed, frail and foolish. That’s why Jesus is good news. He does what no one else can… He reconnects us to God and rescues us from ourselves. This dependence on Him defines us and frees us from the project of self. We call it grace. It’s an invitation out of the exhausting madness of trying to appear that we’re okay knowing that we're freely and fully accepted by God through Jesus.
We know this word carries baggage for some, but we also know that all of us long to belong somewhere. To know others and to be known, this is a desire we all have as those made in God's image.
With this in mind the word church in the scriptures refers to a people not a place. The church was always intended to be a people to which one belongs, not simply a building that hosts services. Sadly, the church is less known for being an inclusive family for those who know (or are discovering) that Jesus is their only hope in life, and more known as an exclusive huddle for the holiest of people.
Because of the freedom we have in Jesus we are free to be nothing in ourselves and to be only what we truly are… a random sampling of the broken world that God in Christ loves. To be the church while painting a picture of anything else would be false advertisement.
While some families can be exclusive, the church ought to always have room for others as an expression of God’s gracious heart toward this world. And so we offer others a place to belong. Whether you believe, don’t believe, struggle in your belief, or you’re on your way to believe there is room at the table.