Monday, April 27, 2009
THIS IS MY BODY, BROKEN FOR YOU
My good friend Charles Pike shared something with me a few weeks ago that has continued to speak to me regarding our calling as the Body of Christ to suffer and serve others.
What my friend shared with me was how we are called the Body of Christ in Scripture and also how Jesus took the bread in the Passover and said to his disciples, "This is my body, broken for you".
Of course, we understand that to be "broken" meant that Jesus would have to suffer on the cross for the sins of the world. However, we also, as the Body of Christ in the world today, need to be "broken" as well. We need to be broken for others around us. We need to see those in need and experience their pain, we need to experience true compassion. In fact, the word "Compassion" actually means "to suffer with".
We are called "bear one another's burdens" and as another friend once pointed out, for me to bear your burden it must actually be a burden to me. This isn't about convenience, it's about love that is expressed in our actions.
We are also called to be broken so that the Gospel can be scattered. Right now, our house church, "The Mission" is growing; both numerically (outwardly) and spiritually (in depth). This is great news. Nothing could make me happier than to see people really loving the community, sharing their lives, experiencing the love of Christ and the Koinonia of the Spirit together.
But, as we grow in size we slowly begin to limit our ability to grow deeper. As more people decide to visit, or as more people desire to invite their friends and neighbors to experience this same joyful life in Christian community, we will soon reach a saturation point where no one new can come and participate. We will simply run out of available space in my den.
Some have asked (even today) if I would ever consider taking this group into a traditional church structure and allow it to grow numerically. My honest answer is "No. Not ever." Why? Because as we grow numerically we outstrip the ability to experience true fellowship. We make it easier to wear masks and "play church" and I will not sacrifice the core values of "being church" for anything like "going to church."
Not only this, but the very reason my wife and I felt called to start a house church was so that we could give 100% of our offering to the poor. Without this core value and practice of our faith we would cease to be who we are, and that is not something I am willing to compromise upon.
If we remain in one large group, week after week, we cannot truly branch out and reach more people, take more territory, invite new friends, meet new people, invest in more lives. In order for our church to grow, and to fulfill our God-given calling as the Body of Christ we, like Him, need to be broken.
I think that brokenness of the Body (the Church) is accomplished in compassion for the lost, the poor, people around us, our neighbors, etc. and it's also accomplished when we, the Body of Christ, are broken (in half) for the sake of others, and for the sake of the Gospel to spread like seed.
That final breaking is in the form of our Body being broken in multiple pieces so that we can multiply and continue the life of Christ in other homes, other neighborhoods, other lives, etc.
I'm praying that this happens in God's timing.
Pray for the Mission as we grow larger that we can also grow deeper and, eventually, outward.