Monday, October 21, 2013


“They are lonely Sundays over here. Only the Word makes a true community.” –Dietrich Bonhoeffer (during his time in America.)

  First of all, happy Lord's day, y'all. Regardless of everything that I might say in this post, I love Sunday. I do indeed love the fellowship, the worship, the learning, and the rest.
  This morning I was just given a huge burden {again} for life together; community. Turns out, that is what this morning’s sermon was on. I smile at the fact that I was already planning on coming to you with this message from lil’ ol’ me before I even knew what the sermon was on.

  Over and over, I shake my head at our happy little Sunday morning gig. How are we going to pursue real relationships if we don't first show one another that we need them? How can we have authenticity in our churches if we are first not vulnerable?

  Yesterday, I was reading Bonhoeffer in the car and was captivated by Bonhoeffer’s words about church in America. He was hungry for Jesus… His thoughts on sermons in America often went something like this, “…too much analysis and too little Gospel.” I love my church. There is no other place I’d rather be. Since going to Africa, however, I have been dissatisfied with our enthusiasm and authenticity. Real church, to me, isn’t sitting in a pew {kind of} listening to a sermon. That is a huge part of church. Real church to me, though, is sharing a meal together and sharing our stories. I shared about being home schooled and my dear Ugandan friend shared about being the first Christian in his Muslim family. Real church to me is hugging my friends and sincerely asking how they are. Real church is in the raised hands, the whispers of praise. It’s when I had to leave right before the sermon began and I hugged my Ugandan Grandmother. With her heavy accent and tears beginning to fall, she hugged me close and said, “I love you and will miss you dearie.” I find Jesus in talking like an absolute nerd with my pastor hovering over my textbook. The bottom line here:

Church is not Sunday morning. Sunday morning is when the Church meets.

  I’m hungry for more of Jesus. After reading page after page of Bonhoeffer’s words about the American church I told Him I was done with this. I was done settling for less in relationship with Him. Settling in my prayer time, settling in my reading of His Word.

  As an introvert, I would much rather “do it alone”, as we discussed this morning. Honestly, that would be an ideal reality. There are MANY days I want to stay home, but 99.9% of the time, I never regret going. I am always blessed and am hopefully blessing someone else in the process.You can be sitting with your church family and still be alone. It takes effort to connect. It takes effort to still meet with your friends, mentors, and acquaintances. It’s worth the struggle. The obstacles of friends’ busyness, screwed up priorities, and lack of passion.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” --Hebrews 10:24-25

  See? We didn’t make this up. No matter how much I often dislike meeting face to face or addressing conflict, the Word says to not give up meeting together. Some times that is easy, on other days it’s a sacrifice. One day it’s convenient… the next you’re meeting your best friend for coffee and because of that you’ll be up until after midnight finishing homework. Some days it’s a life-giving lunch break and the next it’s a hard afternoon text saying that it won’t work again this week. Speaking of texts, don't depend on them. Social media is fun & I take apart in a lot of it. However, never underestimate the power of letting someone know that they're worth than that to you. Let them know they are more than words on a screen or a text sent because that's all you had time for. Use all of that to God's glory, continue using it for encouragement, but know that that will never replace meeting together.

“There hardly ever seem to be ‘encounters’ in this great country, in which the one can always avoid the other. But where there is no encounter, where liberty is the only unifying factor, one naturally knows nothing of the community which is created through encounter. The whole life together is completely different as a result. Community in our sense, whether cultural or ecclesiastical, cannot develop there. Is that true?” -Bonhoeffer

  Fact is, I can’t convict you to go to coffee or confess your sins to one another. I can’t make other people read Bonhoeffer’s word about the American church. I can’t even convince my friends to meet with me most weeks. What I can do, though, is make sure I am on track. If I’m making a true effort to encourage everyone around me, to stay in His Word, and to stay in His Presence, that is all I can do.

  After all, that’s a pretty spectacular to-do list.

Don’t give up meeting with one another.
Stay in God’s word.
Stay in His Presence.

Happy Sunday, y’all. Don’t give up.

Your truly,

{written on Sunday afternoon, October 20th.}

No comments:

Post a Comment