This past Sunday, I sneaked into an adult Sunday School class for the first time here at Moundford. I’m checking out the various classes our church has to offer for a few reasons. One, I’m curious what all the adults are doing while I’m teaching a small group of teenagers. Two, I kinda feel like I’m an adult these days, and maybe I should attend one of these classes once in a while. Three – a whole lot of unnameable reasons.
It was a good class. It was also a hard class. Hard to keep my fat mouth shut, that is. But I think I did a good job. Just sat, following along in heart and mind, and sipping away weak coffee. They were reading through John chapter 17. We read through the entire chapter once, and then began to go through it verse by verse.
We ended on verse 18, which I kept my mouth shut on. But I wanted to stand up and preach. I got through it quietly by promising my excitement I would allow it to blog about this later. So here we are.
I think this verse could possibly be one of the MOST IMPORTANT VERSES to our churches today. Look it up. Read it. It’s HUGE.
Christ does not send us into the world to conquer it’s political systems. He’s not called us to create and defend a “Christian Nation” (or even a “Christian political party”, donkey OR elephant). He doesn’t ask for us to crush the opponents of Christ in every visible realm (political, social, theological, everyday conversations by “one-upping” others). He hasn’t even called us to tuck in our shirts, and/or wear ties and Christian t-shirts and slap bumper stickers on our cars so that everyone might know just how Religious we are, even if they’re just driving/walking past us.
It’s not OUR JOB to make Christ look good/powerful/successful/attractive/like a winner.
Instead, we see in verse 18, a powerful and challenging statement. In the same way that God sent Christ into the world, so we are being sent. How did God send Christ into the world? Humbly. To Love. To Serve. To Die.
This is our calling, to the world around us. Humility. Love. Service. And ultimately, to die of ourselves (although adding “of ourselves” weakens it a bit…we might be called to actually die). Our goals, ambitions, dreams…even the ones we see as truly noble. To let go of these. To follow Christ to a cross. Not even one of self-denial or of self-pity, but of communicating God’s love, grace, and mercy to others. ALL others. Not just the ones easy to love.