Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Beginning a new series in our church community in a couple weeks. The focus is on the parables of Jesus and how they "reveal" God and the Kingdom to us. The longer I follow Christ the more I realize that the Kingdom is "here and now," as well as "future/not yet." My struggle is reflective of the Church's struggle in general - we turn the Kingdom into some future only reality (get saved and go to heaven someday). We focus so much on life after death that we forget about life before death - which is where we are right now. Jesus' parables revealed God and His Kingdom in the present in such a way that we ought to be changed/transformed. We cannot stay the same. If we do, we have missed the Kingdom entirely.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Once a month my church has a prayer and healing gathering we call "Remedy Worship." Last week had a small crowd (they are usually pretty small and intimate), and it was one of the most refreshing worship experiences I've been a part of in awhile. These gatherings are always very peaceful and flow pretty freely. Been reading a book lately called Pagan Christianity? by George Barna and Frank Viola. Here's a link to it on Amazon. Pretty tough book to read because it challenges so much of what we "know" as Christians and the Church - especially church practices. Anyway, the authors advocate what I would basically call Jesus-led worship where all in attendance at the meeting/gathering participate and minister. This, they say, is the first century model for worship. It's not something new to me, but I have been drawn to more of this in worship at my church. We try to be participatory, but this is even more radical. So at our Remedy gathering, I took a back seat and simply led the community in a time of worship through music (led by a couple), and then we discussed Galatians 6:2 for a few moments - focusing on bearing each other's burdens. Then I asked if anyone had a burden to share. Someone immediately spoke up. After they shared, I asked if anyone had words to share with them .. and someone immediately spoke up and shared what to me seemed like very God-inspired words. Then many of us gathered around the person and someone else prayed over them (I put the sign of the cross on their forehead with oil). This went on for several more people, we sang some more, prayed some more, etc. After about an hour or so it ended. Gotta say - it truly felt like Jesus led the worship. Quite an experience.