Shake up the ground of all my tradition.
Break down the walls of all my religion.
Your way is better, Jesus.
[‘Make Room,’ by Community Music]
Our Christian ‘tradition’ says that we meet in a church, hear a message, sing some songs, take communion, sing some more songs and then get sent out to come back and do it all over again the next week. If you are lucky, maybe there is a weekly rhythm of Bible study and/or a meal that your church community participates in throughout the week.
Yet what happens when that ‘tradition’ is sidelined? What happens when we cannot connect in the comfortable ways we are used to when we are unable to be IN a church building?
Because of when and how I chose Jesus, and then was integrated into Christian community, my belief was never attached to the rhythm that existed in a building. My belief came through a community of amazing people who believed Jesus was awesome. When that community wrapped around me, it changed me in a way that drastically changed my life trajectory. All because people chose to show up, speak Jesus truth and be present in my life outside of a building where they worshipped.
It is not about your parking spot.
It is not about your pew.
It is not about the kind of music you like.
It is not about who is giving a message.
And it is definitely not about the building.
Because it is about how the Holy Spirit exists in YOU and engages YOU to be a light and an advocate who is fighting for God’s Kingdom to be known. It is about standing up for what is right and correcting the wrongs of this world for the vulnerable. It is about how you honor what God has done in your life to bring light to others in what seems like a time of darkness.
Being a follower of Jesus is not about what you do inside a building, because it is all about how you are more and more and more like Jesus everywhere you go.
Jesus is not limited to a building and neither are you.
YOU are the church. And yes, when I type all CAPS, I am yelling it at you with FERVOR!
YOU are the church to your family.
YOU are the church to your neighborhood.
YOU are the church to the person standing behind the plexiglass ringing up your groceries that you and a million other people have touched.
YOU are the church to the waitress who is running around a line of cars all waiting for takeout orders.
YOU are the church to a family that has all adults that have filed for unemployment in the last week.
YOU are the church for the small business that is closed and desperately trying to make it through this by selling gift cards for future use.
YOU are the church to the non-profit that is now struggling to get donations to feed their clients.
YOU are the church to the essential workers, who were not raised up and praised mere weeks ago and now we cannot live without them.
YOU are the church to the medical staff who are working long shifts and worrying about bringing home the virus to their family.
YOU are the active and alive church to a massive amount of people looking for answers we do not have, and hope that seems distant.
I cannot help but wonder, in what ways we have been apathetic and docile to the raw and rebellious Jesus?
In what ways have we, consciously and unconsciously, tried to limit the power of God?
In what ways have we placed blame on God for what is going on in the world?
In what ways have we allowed our ‘religion’ to overrule our compassion and desire to be living out what we believe every moment of every day?
When Jesus sent the disciples out, he didn’t send them out to create churches limited to buildings. That was the biproduct of belief and community.
They had walked with Jesus, been taught by Jesus, witnessed the miracles and watched history play out before their eyes.
Jesus sent them out to use their voices as witnesses to what they had seen and heard.
Jesus sent them out as compassionate humans filled with the Holy Spirit to bring hope where darkness has snuffed it out.
Jesus sent them out as proof that he had fulfilled every prophecy ever spoken about him.
Jesus sent them out to proclaim that he is alive and resurrected.
When we chose to believe in the resurrecting power of Jesus, we chose to be disciples…but did we ever really learn how to be a disciple?
There is a time and place for tradition and religion, but there is also an extreme mindset of ‘tradition’ and religion’ that Jesus wants to break through and ask us again…to choose to be his disciples.