It’s high summer. And, we’re beginning to see people again. That is, they call, and want a date to talk. About themselves. Their life. Their history. Their hurts.
Molly’s our best conversationalist. But, she listens, too. And, that’s the key to healing conversation. Just listening. And then praying. Asking God to hold this friend close, to hear his or her heart. To dare to face the wounds they bring. About family life. About disappointments. About hurts. Even hurts from church. Of trying to make peace that just didn’t come. Of feeling they were at the Church of the Closed Door. Which really felt like the church of the closed heart.
Part of the wound seems to be in the expectation that church is where the door is always open. That church is where they always listen. That at church they understand. Because they have the Bible, and Jesus – Whom we all know loves every soul, even the prickly, awkward ones. Even the wrong ones. He came into the world precisely to hear the hearts of the outsiders, of the difficult ones. The ones with a different view from His.
The surprise is that church so often doesn’t listen. Doesn’t seem to want to listen. Has its mind already closed, shutting you out.
And you don’t know what to do. You don’t want to make trouble. You don’t want to offend. You wanted to talk about what seems to you to be true. About hurt in the beloved community.
But, that seems to be a no-no. Something church doesn’t want to hear.
What most people do is disappear. Fade away. Leave. Will other churches be the same? Or, is that the way “church” just is? They think they know your mind. They know your heart. They want you to resign. And go away.
They think others will come. People who’ll agree. Younger people, who’ll bring a new day. Who’ll fill the pews, who’ll be “our kind.”
National statistics show it’s everywhere. It’s the new day. Where church doesn’t fit.
Strangely, that doesn’t sound like Jesus’ conversations. He stands His ground. He asks uncomfortable questions. He says, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” He writes with His finger in the sand. The embarrassed accusers drop their stones, and walk away. “Does no one condemn you?” Jesus asks the declared sinner. “No man, Lord,” she answers. “Neither do I condemn you,” says Jesus. “Go and sin no more.”
Jesus faces sin. He faces self-righteousness. He changes everything. His love changes the game. His love uncovers the way forward. His love invites the wounded ones into the New Community.
That’s the peculiar way. The Way He calls His Church to be.
Bless you all.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
|Arthur Rouner Ministries||
ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES
All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. . ."