The church has lost its power. I briefly shared something about this during the ‘Royal Life’ conference last November. A speech that came from my toes and that I thought about a lot during the Christmas holidays. Because although I realize that I may be kicking a lot of sore legs, I still firmly support that message. And since you and I are not made of sugar, but the salt of the earth, according to Jesus, it’s okay to have a bit of a bite, right?
Because let’s be honest. We bear little resemblance to the church of Acts. The church that was known for mutual love and care for society. How busy we are with ourselves and the rich, Western life we have built. On Sunday we go to mega churches for a beautiful service. We listen to sermons about the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, about letting our light shine and about being the salt of the earth. Our neighbours? We wave kindly at him in the parking lot. And the church? It is no longer praised for its mutual solidarity (as in Acts), but rather reviled for its hypocrisy.
It is wonderful to worship God. Maybe you do that with your hands in the air. And that is good. But do we also know that single mother in the street? Or that lonely grandfather, whose children don’t care about him? That boy from Syria who came to live in the neighborhood and has no idea how life works here? Just three real-life examples that can also be found in your neighborhood. People who need help and attention. What we will never know about if we do not open our eyes and make room (in our hearts and our agenda) for what lies behind the front doors of our neighbors.
Don’t remember, but maintain
The assignment that Jesus gives to you and me is to make disciples of all nations and teach them to observe everything He has commanded us. How can we learn to care for others when we only have ourselves?ont keep what He has commanded us? Because listening to messages and talking about following Jesus is not discipleship. Jesus’ commandments are all about loving and bringing justice and righteousness. That is hard practice. Matthew 5:16 says Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. So by living as Jesus prescribes in the Sermon on the Mount, we seek the Kingdom and our Father is glorified. That’s how it worked at the church in Acts. People were added there every day and were saved. This is how our Father is glorified.
During the Christmas holidays, Liz, a originally South African woman, whom I had the pleasure of meeting a few times in America, passed away. The memorial service, which I was fortunate to be able to follow online, touched me deeply. This woman has been of great significance to many people. Based on her deep love for Jesus, she has been able to share admirably. To basically everyone who crossed her path. Even though she was only 46 years old, her legacy is great. She was truly an ambassador of God’s Kingdom. Her death made me think a lot. What does my life look like? What about my love and hospitality? To whom am I a neighbor?
Church in her strength
I don’t know if you have any New Year’s resolutions. You might want to join in with mine. Shall we also wave the hands that we raise to God in worship for our neighbor, so that the lonely are seen and people who need help are helped? Shall we go for justice and justice? Shall we let our light shine together for the people? That they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven.
So that in 2023 we can rightly speak again about a church that functions in its strength and shines like never before.