I remember sitting in maths in High School… I don’t remember it being particularly riveting…but I remember being there. I remember procrastinating, talking regularly to the good looking girls sitting behind me, and noting that Mr Watson was wearing the same navy blue trousers for the 12th week straight.
I also remember seeing things like this on the whiteboard:
x + y = 3
2x + 3y = 8
Now, anyone who has done algebra will know that this is a simultaneous equation. Two separate equations which cannot be solved without the other. They rely on one another. They co-exist. One can only be solved by substituting the other into that equation. you with me?
And it has come to my attention in recent weeks that LOVE ITSELF is in fact a simultaneous equation.
“Worship is nothing more nor less than Love on it’s knees before the Beloved; just as mission is love on it’s feet to serve the Beloved”
We see here in N.T. Wright’s quote that worship and mission are both acts of love. One is an engagement between us and God, the other an engagement between us and others. But it’s more than that. As we dwell on this we realise that God is in the midst of our engagement with others and that often others are in the midst of our worship with God. There is a beautiful sense of community and fellowship among humanity. We see this in Acts 2:42-47. we see Love. Sharing. Compassion. Engagement. Learning. We see this beautiful picture where people have all that they need and that it is a beautiful thing for all people to share in and it is “favourable to all people”. It is desired. Sought after. it is AMAZING.
Yet when I read this a deep sense of hurt and longing rushes over me.
This is not what the Church looks like. Right now. It isn’t. Somewhere along the line church became this place FOR us..a place place for US to connect, a place for US to be fulfilled, a place for US to be comfortable. I look around and see a culture of people expectant for things for themselves, so much so that there is no desire to even make a church service happen by setting up chairs. The responsibility falls on a few who truly get what it means to serve. The sad thing about this is that it is often the elderly man or the man who has gone his whole life without a wife or family…They have known what it means to truly rely on God, and they faithfully serve.
Like it or not, we have lost what it means to be a community in Jesus Christ.
What upsets me even more is the people who complain about “not feeling God” or “not getting what I need”. Are we really that self-centred? This is not what we are about. Jesus called us to turn to an agenda of radical love…Of reaching to the broken, hurt and lost and blessing them in whatever way we can.
If someone was to ask me “what is love?” I could quite easily prepare a sermon out of 1 Corinthians 13 and talk on the importance of Patience, kindness etc. But the best answer would actually be “GO…and do as lovers do.” PRACTICE patience, kindness trust, hope, perseverance, sacrifice, etc.
And in the same way if someone is to ask me “Who is God?” my best answer can be “GO, and do as lovers of God do”. I love God, I can talk about Him all day, but it is in the pursuit of His Heart, and His vision and call for His people that we will really discover Him.
Jesus said: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Did you see that?
the SECOND IS LIKE THAT
Those two commandments are so intertwined. They cannot be achieved individually. In the midst of Loving God AND loving others…there is FULFILLMENT.
Worship & Mission
let those be the two biggest things in your life. Love God. Be before Him. be in Awe. be captivated. Proclaim Him. Exalt Him.
I am convinced that in the midst of this…in the midst of true worship, we are compelled by the things of His heart. And we can’t help BUT go out and be the hands and feet of Jesus.
And in the midst of serving others, loving those who are burdened and weary, we get to SEE God at work…
And when you SEE God at work…boy…are you compelled to worship, sacrifice, and love Him even more.
My prayer is that all of us would come to love Jesus in a way that we allow all the things of our own world to truly fall away, and we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by his Awesomeness, and that we would RESPOND and GO be the missional community we are called to be.
My final thought is this…if we go back to that equation at the beginning, and solve it, we see that x = 2 and y = 1
2+1 = 3
What a simple equation!
Love is simple…It just requires our time, focus and attention…
God Bless You as you go about your days 🙂