Communion Lesson to the teachers

Mark 14:66-72, 15:1-41
You’ll have to bear with me, I have a lot on my heart. Many have left our church in recent months, some as recently as this month. Many of these men and women were my friends, some of my dearest friends. It has hurt to watch them go. In some cases, I even knew that that they believed that they were going to a place that was better for them, but it still hurts. It hurts because I know I’ll miss them. It hurts because I know my church will be less for them not being here. It hurts because I had a dream for this church to be God’s church, a beacon of light for Columbus. With every person that leaves, that dream gets harder and harder to believe in.
I feel so in adequate to change things, to make our church better so no one else will leave. It seems like an overwhelming task, far over my head. Who am I to make a change? Who am I to make a difference? I am not a Biblical scholar, by a long shot. I don’t know how to run a church, to make it the best. Why do I think that I could?
There are times that the urge to run away is great. I simply can’t imagine stemming the tide, making a difference. I can’t accomplish it, so I don’t want the responsibility. I just want to give up.
Sometimes to give up means I want to run and hide. I’ll leave too, go somewhere else. Where? I don’t know, somewhere where I’m not reminded of my inadequacies, my inability to make a change, my lack of influence. Somewhere where it doesn’t hurt to be there.
Sometimes to give up means to really give up. I’m just not cut out for Christianity, or maybe it was all a pipe dream anyway, a foolish fantasy.
Sometimes to give up means to just play church. I’ll be there, I’ll sing the songs, I’ll write my check, I’ll show up, but I won’t give myself. It hurts to give my heart. What am I giving to? Why bother? I want to resign from all responsibility and just fade to the shadows where I can be safe. This is the way that wins at times. I do enough to get by, but no more. This way is so, so easy take.
As I tried to think of a lesson to give, these are the things that are on my heart. I thought I’d just go to Mark 15, the next chapter in the church’s study in Mark and see if I could just do a lesson on that, since what was on my heart did not seem fit to share. As I read about Jesus before Pilate, the soldiers, the chief priests, the crowd it all seemed so foreign to me, so distant from what I was feeling.
Then it hit me. One by one, these folks left Jesus. First the 12 who had stood by him, marveled at him and lived by his side for 3 years fled, nearly denying they even knew his name. The government, never on his side but not totally against him either, turned a blind eye and let the evil intent of the religious leaders have its way. Then the crowd, just a few days earlier welcoming him into the city like the savior and hero he was, now shouted for his death and asked for a murderer instead. The soldiers laughed at him and even one of the criminals with him ridiculed him. Ultimately, even God his father turned his back on Jesus, leaving him all alone to die on a cross.
In all of this Jesus did not flinch from his desire to honor God with his life. He would do God’s will, even if no one cared. He would not be denied His chance to honor God, nothing would stand in his way.
Now, I’m not Jesus nor is our church perfect. And certainly those who left are not Judases, Pilates or criminals. But as I thought about Jesus and what he went through and I thought about my discouragement I found hope. I found I could feel just a little bit of Jesus’ pain as he approached the cross. I could relate to some amount of his sufferings. Certainly his pain was greater. More was at stake and more could be lost. And at least I could count on the fact that God would not be turning his back on me. It was here that I found hope. I also found a little bit of conviction. If our Lord was faced with this kind of hurt on a level far above what I am experiencing and found the determination to do God’s will anyway, so could I. Somehow I can rise above the hurt and live as a Christian should.
Brothers and sisters, that’s what we must do or Satan has won. Frankly, I feel that this is just what we have not done overall as a church. It feels as though we have just been playing church, I know that at times I have. We’ve allowed our hurt, our pain, our disillusionment to distract us from that which we committed ourselves to. We’ve gone about our lives, ignoring the good we could do and our church, God’s church, suffers for it. We’ve all been hurt over this past year and I will not dismiss that or make light of it. We need to be able to grieve and to heal. But if we allow our hurts to make us numb, if our pain keeps us from doing the good we ought to do – as, if we were honest with ourselves, it has – shame on us. Let’s think about Jesus and what he endured on his way to the cross this week as we go through our lives and think about what’s stopping us from doing what good we can.

4 thoughts on “Communion Lesson to the teachers

  1. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. I identify with you, it’s like that for me. I think of Proverbs 13:12 about how heart sick my friends and family are. I sometimes wonder if they know something that I do not, especially when many tell me about how free they are.
    I also think about Ruth 2 where the presence of the kinsman-redeemer doesn’t save, but the act of faith in Ruth 3 ultimately saves both Ruth and Naomi. In other words, Jesus is present in all circumstances, but can only work miracles in the prescene of faith.
    Personally, I don’t think people ‘should’ feel one way or the other, nor should they change the way they feel for the benefit of the church. Instead, I challenge them to have faith that God will provide and help them overcome. I think what we have been lacking is not some sense of commitment or a lack of concern for others, although both are quite evident. I believe that many of us are living a dry faithless existence whose only goal is to survive.
    Hope this helps. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. Thanks, John. I figured you’d relate to this. 🙂 My actual delivery of it in our early morning kingdom kids worship was slightly different, but the same basic point.
    I agree with you on what people should or shouldn’t feel. How silly to think that we can dictate emotions, either our own or someone else’s. I also thing tht you hit it on the head when you spoke of survival. When survival is our main focus, it’s inherantly selfish. Ironically, a long term survival mindset is ultimately a hinderance to our survival. To be healthy spiritually I think people need consistant feeding and growth. When we’re just trying to get by, growth doesn’t happen and eventually no grownth destroys our faith.
    On the flip side of this post, we had a great leadership meeting last Thurdsay evening. Only about half the group was there, so the decisions made were tentative pending further discussion by the entire group, but it was a good, honest look at the needs of the church. I hope it will lead to some substantive change in focus, and have no reason to believe otherwise. I hope to have somethign to post about it next week.

  3. I can understand what you are going through only to a degree. I think that in any time of a loss (or change, mostly that’s the same thing) it’s important that you mourn. Mourning is heathy spiritualy because our emotions are such a big part our perseption. Emotionally, we drift in a direction of fulfillment. We do what we need to do in order to fulfill ourselves emotionally. If that includes the need to feel loss, then it’s important that we feel loss. As Christians, we are taught to deny ourselves and to live for Christ (Luke 9:23). Ultimately this is for our emotional satisfaction. To deny ourselves doesn’t mean ignore ourselves, it means (to me) not live according to our emotions and self-reliance. BUT to have faith. To please God, we must do everything in faith. Faithfully we need to remain in the fellowship that we believe is from God. I think perhaps that some of these people who have left, have left for the same reason you stay. You must believe that God is with your fellowship, or I am confident that you would go elsewhere. I think my encouragment to you is to re-visit the scriptures that define the ultimate will of God as expressed. It is to Love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. According to 1 John, we express our love towards God (through Christ) by obeying the command of “to love our brother”. The second is like it, to love your neighbor as yourself/ treat others as you want them to treat you. The summation of the scriptures are these two commands. We are to live the life of love. Be loving to all people, unconditionally. The bible teaches that this is going to be the only way the “world” will recognize us as belonging to God. Our “evangilism” is to love. It’s not complicated or difficult to understand. Growth comes in our abilty to love people. Your fellowship can be a beacon, if your intent and directive is pure and focused. I think that if you are in a fellowship that is needing direction, or a sense of purpose, is having a hard time seeing the elephant in the room. Perhaps by your example, and strength of character, you may pursuade and encourage your fellowship to take this simple yet lazer focused challenge. It will be my honor and privilege to approach the Throne of our Master, and with thanks giving, supplicate your situation with hope and faith of an answered prayer. As we disscussed in person, I believe that actually making a search for elders to come lead your congregatin as the Master has intended, you might gain relief that your fellowship seems to need so desperatly. All said with love!

  4. Thx, btw have a look at – very inspirational articles , see you later. Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of ones weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.~Mahatma Gandhi On a weekend getaway to Las Vegas, I was in search of a book to read on the airplane and stumbled on a novel called Footprints. Little did I know the beautiful message this novel was to convey. …

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