Outside my window one afternoon, while grading papers and doing other work, I overheard two young men talking about girls. But this just wasn’t any conversation! One guy was telling the other all the things he had to do exactly right to ask a certain girl out. It was great advice, really! I was pretty impressed. They discussed at length whether or not to include 1 chocolate kiss or 3 chocolate kisses or a whole bag in the gift that he would give her as he asked her out. (They finally agreed on 3). They talked about where to place the blanket, and under which tree. They even talked at length about how fresh the flowers needed to be. It was amazing to hear the detailed plan of action, the careful noting of everything, and all the ways of how not to be misunderstood and how to avoid intentions from being misleading. Overhearing the whole thing actually revived any faith I may have lost in the male population of youth these days. 😉
But it also got me thinking: Will he go through with it? He has to, after all that conversation and planning, etc. And I’m sure he will. But the thing that got me thinking about was the fact of when was the last time we actually took the next move when it comes to Church? We do a lot of talking! We talk at length about how Jesus loves everyone. We talk about how we should treat the “least of these.” We talk about how we are the body of Christ. We talk about how Jesus is coming back soon. We talk about how following God is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life. We talk about Bible stories and how they apply to our lives. We talk about how to live as Christians in this day and age. And the list could go on.
But when was the last time we LIVED it OUT? When was the last time we actually made the move? When was the last time we loved the least of these? When was the last time we sold our possessions? When was the last time we reached out a healing hand? When was the last time we put our words into action? Actually lived out what we say we will do and who we say we are? When was the last time we stopped worrying about what everyone will say or think and actually became radical in the way we loved others and ourselves, thus showing our love for God? Why are we waiting so much? And for what?
What if the church got off its butt and actually started BEING church in every place, to every person, etc. that it found? What if the move for love actually took place and went beyond the lips of mere talk and what if the songs became a dance that was the pulse of every moment of every day instead of some praise song or hymn sung once a week? What if our very breathes and lives, even the mundane moments, were the sermon of the revolution of LOVE that the world is waiting to witness? What if we stopped daydreaming about a someday and actuated that dream into a living reality TODAY? What if the church stopped bickering and pointing fingers and complaining about all the things wrong with others and started BEING the answers to the things that they claim are missing?
But right here is the problem: I need to stop asking “what if the Church” and start asking “what if you?” and “what if I?” Really: “What if We?”
Because that is what the church is. It’s human. It’s you. It’s me. It’s us. It’s not some foreign institution run by religious half-human nitwits (although most prefer to think of it this way so that there is always someone else to blame and therefore we are not accountable). The “church” is not this power that is waiting for us to just pay a little more tithe and then it may listen to our ideas. WE…YOU and ME… US…We are the Church! The reason that it’s not being what it was meant to be? The reason is you…the reason is me. It’s time we stopped pointing fingers. It’s time we stopped blaming conservatives or liberals or conferences or pastors or presidents. It’s time we start BEING who we are! It’s time we made the next move for LOVE.
Because if it’s really love, it can’t help but make a move.
I think about the start of that young love I witnessed recently and the careful planning for the next move…I hope it works out for him. The blanket is waiting. The flowers have grown and were set out on the counter. A bag of chocolate kisses rests on the shelf and will be bought soon. A nervous and excited teenage boy will ask a blushing and thrilled girl to be his girlfriend.
And the world waits for the Church…waits for you and me… to make our move and take the mere talk to the next level….
WHAT IF WE…?
“Stop complaining about the church you’ve experienced and start being the church you dream of.” – Shaine Claiborne