“There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right. Its beauty is indescribable. Its power is breathtaking. Its potential is unlimited. It comforts the grieving and heals the broken in the context of community. It builds bridges to seekersand opens its arms to the forgotten, the downtrodden, and the disillusioned. It breaks the chains of addictions, frees the oppressed, and offers belonging to the marginalized of this world. The potential of the local church is almost more than I can grasp.” *
In this time of chaos, confusion, political strife, racial inequity, poverty growing by leaps and bounds, families being beset by food insecurity, isolation and unbridled death and dying, how can we carry that hope to others? Some days it feels as though we Christians have nothing much to offer the world.
Historically, we have not loved our neighbors as we should, our buildings are closed for now, and our communities are not meeting in-person. I don’t know about you, but to me it seems the needs are growing exponentially but we can’t keep up; we don’t have the means; we don’t have the organization; we don’t have the position in the community or the funding.
But the hope we bring to the world, in the end, has very little to do with means, or organization or position or funding. The hope we bring to our community and the world is not through OUR strength, but God’s. Even when we feel like we have nothing to offer or not enough to give, we have Jesus…we have the good news.
We can and do intercede on behalf of our community and our world through our prayers and the actions we can take. That, my friends, is more than enough.
I know of no greater blessing in my life today than to be a part of the church. Not just the universal church but I have a church family. You are my church family. And although we are not physically together, we are still church and although the building is closed for the time being, we are still ‘being’ church in the world.
Through our ministries of Pioneer Kitchen, connecting with Sharpstein, collecting food for the Food Pantry, supporting justice through Justice for Our Neighbors, Walla Walla Immigrant Rights Coalition and Walla Walla Speaks, creating meaningful on-line worship, our Whitman Fellow, our bible studies and justice classes — we are being church.
When we think unselfishly with the mind of Christ, reach out and to care for and restore those in need and those who are lost, the church becomes the hope of the world. We, dear friends, stand in the breach for all those who cannot. We offer ourselves, our prayers, and our actions on behalf of the world…and when we do, God shows up. Thank you church!
*[Bill Hybels, Courageous Leadership, 2002]