Day 10: Keystone Habit 5: Jesus Chooses Church
Andrew Delbanco, a professor from Columbia University, wrote a short book called "The Real American Dream." It has only three chapters: 1. God, 2. Nation, and 3. Self. He wanted to show how people's hope has shifted from God to Nation throughout American history and finally has settled on Self. The problem is that we can't have hope within ourselves. He writes, "if we fail to contribute to some good beyond ourselves, we condemn ourselves to the hell of loneliness." A nation whose hope is on the Self has as many hopes as people, and therefore, won't have a single unifying hope that everyone can get behind. It's comparing a rock with sand. (Sounds like a familiar parable.)
Our self-absorbed nation needs the message of the church the way a dirty pool needs a chemical shock to rebalance. When we come to church weighted down by the pressures of the world, we need to be shocked back into the Good News of Jesus and the salvation He offers to all of us.
Jesus came and shocked the ways of the culture. He valued the poor, the sick, and the outcasts. Jesus read the Old Testament prophets and declared He was the Good News. That brought a shock to the world. The religious boxes of crossing enough T's and dotting enough I's to save yourself is exhausting and empty.
The collective church can look different from one another. Churches serve diverse communities, and individuals in those churches have various gifts given to them by God. Together the church gets it right when the shocking Good News of Jesus is proclaimed.
Church still does that today. Every time you hear the Gospel that Jesus is Savior of the world, and His love is a gift to you, that shocks your system. It gives you hope outside of yourself—outside of your hope in the success of your country and places it on God.
In addition to hearing the Good News, the church also offers a place to contribute outside yourself—something you desperately need to do. It offers forgiveness of sins and hope for the future. Jesus chose church daily by attending temples and synagogues and using His gifts to contribute.
In a world where headlines and news lead many to fear and anxiety, why not choose a church and hear the proclamation of the very best headline that God is so madly in love with you!
In the reading for today, note that Jesus stood up in the temple and read the scroll that announces that He was, in fact, the Good News, standing in their midst. Like a modern-day mic-drop. #ScrollDrop
Challenge for the Day: