Everything is transformational! Everything we taste, see, feel and experience affects who we are, our very being. When God’s people meet it is not because God has commanded us to do so as part of the deal he made with us regarding our salvation. He commands us to meet together because in so doing we become what he intended us to be. Through the activities we participate in as a community, we become a community, a family of faith.
When we celebrate Christian baptism, whether we be the baptizer, baptizee or a by standing witness, we are transformed by the event. How could your heart not be moved by seeing the gospel of death, burial and resurrection, being played out in the life of an individual who has trustingly placed their life in the hands of the Father, pledging to follow in the footsteps of Jesus wherever the Holy Spirit might lead?
When we celebrate communion we are transformed through the renewal of our minds. We participate in a meal of which Jesus is at the head of the table and the menu. We are reminded that through the breaking of His physical body, we, in some mystical twist have become that body on earth. We celebrate that we have been made clean by being washed in His blood. We boldly proclaim, “WE ARE JESUS’ PEOPLE!” And by proclaiming, we incrementally become more of who we are.
This Sunday our church family did something different. We called it “OUTside Day.” Many churches around the country have practiced this under titles like “Be the Sermon Sunday” and such. Basically, we came together for our beginning of the week assembly in our work clothes. At the conclusion of that assembly, rather than going to our regular classes we went outside to serve our community. Groups went to school campuses, nursing homes, the seniors’ center, a children’s home or gathered to write encouraging cards . I say this not to say glory to us, but to explore the transformative nature of the event.
As a culture we constantly face the same temptation Eve (and Adam) succumbed to in the Garden, namely, we think it is about “me” when it isn’t. “You can be like God,” promised the serpent, and they bit. “It’s about meeting Your needs,” preached the culture, and the church swallowed.
It is great that we helped people on OUTside Day. We are Jesus’ people doing what Jesus did so that Jesus might be honored and His reign over all the universe might become more evident.
Richard Foster writes concerning meditation in Celebration of Discipline, “Although we are engaging in specific meditation exercises at specific times, the aim is to bring this living reality into all of life.” And I echo, “Although we engaged in specific acts of service at a specific time, the aim was greater than that moment. The goal was to inspire perpetual service to God and His creation as a constant living reality in our lives.”
We serve the God of Order, the God who made a time for daylight and dark, separated the heavens and the earth and gave boundaries to the seas. Our God made human beings in His image and charged us with the task of overseeing His creation as his image bearers. It is our daily function to bring order, resist chaos and help the weak. Therefore, we measure the success of OUTside Day not in the number of participants, the weeds pulled or the smiles inspired, but by the change of our hearts and the increased daily awareness that God lives in us and that we are indeed “doors for His love to come through.”
May God bless us and our children as we daily live OUT our faith, seeing our neighbors through the eyes of Christ and reaching out with our hands – no Christ’s hands – serving him faithfully day by day. That the world may know, and we and our children may grow…