Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Set Your Piggies Free - BLISTERS

If you’ve had one you know. You know just how painful a blister is.

You hike naively: enjoying the creek, smelling the pine, feeling the breeze. You press on toward your destination. As the miles go by you come to discover a seething pain inside your boot.

If this sounds familiar, you have spent time in church or to put it more accurately, you’ve spent time around people. Here it is plainly: Christ followers will not live in harmony with each other until they understand why they wear hiking boots, trail runners, or flip flops. And, learn to assign value to their choice in a grace filled way.

It’s ALL about Jesus. Church is not about tradition. Church is not about what man says you should do. Church is not about what denomination you belong to. Church is not about a set of man made rules you follow. Church is not about social clubs or mission trips. Church is not about how well you behave. Church is not about cool worship bands. Church is not about what you wear or how you look. Church is not about finding a nice husband or wife.

Church is people worshipping Jesus, corporately[1]. Now that may happen in a church building or maybe, on the hiking trail. But, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

Blisters hurt, especially after the protective layer of skin tears away and the raw meat below is exposed. Many people that have had a blister or two in their lives will never wear hiking boots again. But, should they stop hiking? Should you stop hiking?

I wear flip flops on Camelback Mountain and, on occasion, a naysayer will speak meanly toward me passive aggressively as he walks by, “She can’t wear flip flops out here.” Some hikers will stop and speak directly to me, “How do you wear flip flops out here?”

I believe our concern should be to cause everyone to get on the trail and “hike.” We are not to be concerned what shoes we wear.

The Bible says our goal as disciples is unity not uniformity. On the night before Jesus’ death he prayed for UNITY (John -24). Here is what Jesus prayed[2]:

·   His followers would be one in body and spirit (v. 21).
·   Unity of thought, deed, and word would bear witness to the world of the Messiah (v. 23).
·   The goodness of God revealed through Christ would live in us and through us (vv. 22 and 24).
·   Unity would become complete as God’s love for us pours out on the world (v. 25).

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is:

He answered “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and will all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
- Luke 10:27

He didn’t say it had to be from a wooden pew. He didn’t say you had to wear khaki colored dress pants and tuck in your shirt. He didn’t say you had to follow a set of procedures to worship. He however calls us to HIS grace. The Apostle Paul summarized how grace unifies us in Ephesians 4:1-7[3].

·   Live a life worthy of our calling (v. 1).
·   Be humble, gentle, and patient (v. 2).
·   Bear with one another in love (v 2).
·   Keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (v. 3).
·   Be one flock and have one shepherd in the Spirit under God (v. 4).
·   Use the grace given us according to our unique callings (vs. 7).

Please hear me. It’s not about flip flops or hiking boots. It’s about Christ. Church is when two or more are gathered in HIS name (Matthew ). By me saying “Set Your Piggies Free,” I’m suggesting we offer a way to get to know Jesus and what it means to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Be the church to one another. Share with your neighbor, your barista, your grocery story clerk, your hair dresser, your mail man, your children’s teachers the love of Christ apart from inviting them to attend your bricks and mortar church.

If you would like a resource to learn more about how to follow Jesus without feeling like you're going back to school, read the The WHEE Factor by Edy Sutherland. It parallels outdoor adventure sports to the basic premises of the Christian faith.

[1] Edy Sutherland, The WHEE Factor (Enumclaw, WA: Wine Press Publishing, 2011) 25-26.
[2] Sutherland, 23-24.
[3] Sutherland, 24.


Anonymous said...

Wow, that's awesome! Praise God! Now we just need to do something about those noisy, disruptive children in church. (You know I'm completely joking.) This is an awesome post!