Faith & Life Gathering Report
As leaders, we are part of many groups with various ideas that could be used to divide rather than unify. We hear stories of people choosing to segregate because of race, privilege, sexuality, and politics.
But when we get right down to it, does it really matter? Isn’t it God who sorts it all out in the end? Our one job is to love and show each other Christ’s love. When we sit next to each other at a sport’s event, or church pew, should it matter whom our seatmate is?
What matters is that this person woke up and decided to go to the “House of the Lord.” They did not come to disrupt someone’s pew seat, beliefs, or faith. They came because they needed to be here. They came to hear teaching or guidance about this Lord that has beckoned them. They wanted to know if Jesus could help them.
“They wanted to know if Jesus could help them.“
I can’t tell you how many churches I visited before settling on a place that wasn’t rude to me. I settled on a place that didn’t care about the shade of my skin, or if I wore pants, how I wore my hair, or if my husband was with me or not.
One time my sister and I went to a church visitation for a friend who had passed on. We entered the vestibule and signed the memorial book. Before proceeding further, an usher advised us that we would not be permitted inside, unless we changed our clothes. Women were not allowed to wear pants in this church, so we were turned away. (We actually had on culottes, wide pants that go below your knees that look like a skirt.)
That experience left a sad memory in my mind. I decided, if Jesus was in a church like this, I didn’t want their Jesus. I would stay home and seek my own relationship with God.
Even alone, God did not disappoint. He is faithful! I would build up my Jesus muscle on my own, because something was continually tugging and calling me closer. I eventually found a church to attend regularly, but my sister still does not go to a church building.
I am not the only one with such a church story. There are probably many in your church, and more who are not willing to come to your church, with such stories. Therefore, I believe the message from God to us is, “Love everyone, I’ll sort them out later.”
At the May 2021 Faith and Life Gathering, we discussed Paul and Barnabas’ challenges in Acts 15. What did God say about Jews and Gentiles? How do you interpret what God meant?
We have to communicate clearly what the great commission means and how we are to go about doing it, because we still have work to do.
Peter said, “Some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the neck of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?” (Acts 15:7-10, NIV)
This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)