Tag Archives: laity in the church

I’m in the Lord’s Army

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I just saw a funny cartoon on Pinterest  It showed the Simpsons reading a letter.  The caption says, “It’s from our church.  We’ve been called up for active service.”  This may make you chuckle, but as laity, it’s perfectly true.  When we become members of the body of Christ, we’re on duty for life.  We’re never too young or too old to do our part.  We never retire.

There’s a Sunday School Song I used to sing with my daughters that’s a good reminder.  It brings back happy memories, so I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.

 

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A Motley Crew

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If you look up the definition of this phrase, you’ll find that it refers to a loosely organized assembly of people who vary in appearance, background, and character but have a common goal.  Examples might be a band of pirates, or a western posse.   Historically, “motley” was the varicolored fabric worn by jesters — you remind what that looks like, right?  Kind of crazy and mismatched?

Well, you might say the disciples Jesus chose were a motley crew.  There was a zealot, a tax collector and some fishermen.  One of them denied Him, one betrayed Him, a couple asked for preferential treatment. They didn’t always get along.  They all seemed pretty clueless and dense about where Jesus was headed, even after He came right out and told them that He was going to Jerusalem to be killed.(Matthew 16:21)  Somehow, in the end, it all comes together in a way that is nothing short of miraculous.  This disparate group of men becomes a force that “turns the world upside down.”(Acts 17:6) How?  The answer is simple:  they received the Holy Spirit.

The same is true of any Christian congregation today.  We’re doctors and lawyers, janitors and cooks.  We’re black and white, Korean and Indian.  We don’t look like a , family, but we are. We get sidetracked, we quarrel, we mess up and we get frustrated with one another.  Somehow, though, with the help of the Spirit, and lots of prayer, we persevere and we accomplish things. We feed the hungry and clothe the naked;  we visit prisoners;  we teach and evangelize;  we maintain church buildings and support missionaries. We couldn’t do any of this on our own.  I think God planned to do great things through motley crews like us, just so we’d know we had to rely on Him and give Him all the glory.

“For consider your calling, brothers;   not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.  But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;  God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;  God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”  1 Corinthians 1:26-30

A Quote by Eugene Peterson

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For those who have not heard of him, Eugene Peterson is a Presbyterian pastor and author of more than thirty books. I have read quite of few of them, and would recommend him as a Christian author.  He is best know for his contemporary rendering of the Bible, The Message.  This quote comes from his book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, and I think it addresses well the reality of living together as a Christian community.

“But, of course, the fact that we are a family of faith does not mean we are one big happy family. The people we encounter as brothers and sisters in faith are not always nice people.  They do not stop being sinners the moment they begin believing in Christ.  They don’t suddenly metamorphose into brilliant conversationalists, exciting companions and glowing inspirations.  Some of them are cranky, some of them are dull and others (if the truth must be spoken), a drag.  But at the same time our Lord tells us that they are brothers and sisters in faith.  If God is my Father, then this is my family.

So the question is not, ‘Am I going to be part of a community of faith?’ but ‘How am I going to live in this community of faith?’  God’s children do different things.  Some run away and pretend the family doesn’t exist.  Some move out and get an apartment of their own from which they return to make occasional visits, nearly always showing up for the parties and bringing a gift to show that they really do hold the others in fond regard.  And some would never dream of leaving but cause others to dream it for them, for they are always criticizing what is served at meals, quarreling with the way the housekeeping is done and complaining that the others in the family are either ignoring or taking advantage of them.  And some, determined to find out what God has in mind by placing them in this community called a church, learn how to function harmoniously and joyously, and develop the maturity that is able to share and exchange God’s grace with those who might otherwise be viewed as nuisances.”