Happy Reformation Day everyone!
At City Chapel, we’ve been talking a lot about how God blesses before he commands (Beatitudes at the front of the Sermon on the Mount) he offers freedom and grace before judgment (Frees the Israelites from bondage in slavery before taking them to Mt Sinai and the Ten Commandments). So, in the same spirit, if you haven’t read our last blog by James Gilmore, I’d say read that one first before continuing with this one. It can be found HERE.
Ok, now that you’ve read that, now what? In light of the reality and truth of what James wrote, now what? Here’s the next part:
City Chapel is also a dangerous place. In fact, I would hope every church, in a sense, is a dangerous place. Dangerous because we worship and follow the Living God. The one who raised Jesus from the dead and sends the rain on the just and the unjust. The Creator God who made the heavens and the earth.
Dangerous because this God delivers us out of our bondage and sin and sends us out to the world God loves. Dangerous because God might (will) call you to step out of your comfort zone. Dangerous because God might (will) ask you to defend the marginalized. Dangerous because God might (will) call you to care for the widow and orphans. Dangerous because God might (will) call you to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him. And THIS, is a dangerous thing.
Annie Dillard puts it this way:
“On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of the conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies' straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.” from Teaching a Stone to Talk
She nails it on the head. God may draw us out to a place where we can never return.
And, yet, it is also the safest thing in the world. For there is no life outside of Jesus. Eternal life is found only in him. We are given the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, so even if we were to die, and it wasn’t in God’s plan for us to die yet, God could just raise us back to life! This is the safest “dangerous” place there is.
City Chapel is both a safe place and a dangerous place. Safe because, like God, we strive to offer grace and blessing and mercy first. Come as you are. You need not “fix” yourself before coming. Forgiveness and grace abound. Dangerous because we serve the Living God who calls us out of our comfort zones to defend the poor, the widow, the orphan, the marginalized, the sojourner, to build bridges between broken communities, to share his love with a broken world, to be non-retaliatory, and to live a life worthy of our calling. May we offer safety and peace as we live dangerous lives.
Written by Pastor Ron Radcliffe