Fear drives us to sectarianism. This means we stick to those people we know, whether religious, class or racial groups for security. It’s a natural response in trying times. But what the world needs is an opposite response. The natural response just encourages more sectarianism. Somehow we need the faith, hope and love in our hearts to react with the prescription rather than more of the symptom.
This was the case with the early church. Rome was a divided community upheld by violence. Jesus’ kingdom was for a community that pulled down these walls, where there was no colour, no class, no race, no social distinctions: but one family in true daily interactions, acceptance and fellowship. It was costly for the believers, it was contrary to the creeds of individualism and comfortable life style, but this new way of life eventually turned things around in Rome. It was the prescription, the way of life of Jesus, who cared for the different person on the road to Jericho, who passed through Samaria, who pulled down the normal social walls and destroyed them on his cross.
The church is not a sect. A sect separates. It builds walls, cuts itself off from others and celebrates its differences in isolation from the needs of different people. The early church was never a sect in this sense. It served community. It built community. It was for the community and in it. The church called all people together to one table, through demonstrating its faith by love for others, for enemies, for any people in need, especially for those different.
This is the church that is needed today. The world needs a people who will lead the way, not just in denouncing the evil of others, but in going into the world and showing the love that heals divisions and hatred. It’s costly love. It means taking up our cross.
The world needs people of faith, not people of fear. This is what the church has to give. We are not doomsayers, who show no love. We are self-givers who give living example to the solution. This is our calling in today’s world. This is why the church has the future. It secured the future in early history and it will secure the future in this age. Because when the chips are down the church begins to serve and serving heals our nations and gathers the people. We are in for a huge unprecedented gathering. But its a gathering to Christ, to his cross and love, not to us or to sects.
The world needs people who instead of just speaking out about what is wrong in other people’s lives, will show a better way, and will show the true faith, by what we do. It’s what Jesus and James both said was the answer in their generation. Stop judging, they said, and start going the extra mile and caring for others. Heal the community. When we all have a log in our eye it’s hard to see to put things right. But when we take up our cross we find God has the only answer and this answer begins to unveil. This unveiling of his love through the church is the true apocalypse (revealing of God).
Build bridges, not walls. Live by love and not by fear. Embrace, rather than exclude. Care for others instead of save self. A new church: a new world. “He/she who gathers is living my kingdom way.”