Monday Musings 30/09/13
MJ and I make it our habit to pray every time we begin a journey in our car. As we began one of those journeys earlier this week, I found myself quoting Jesus model prayer, commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:5-13. Several phrases in the prayer captivated my attention.
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men…But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place…And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do…In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…Amen.”
Three things come to mind as I consider the church through the lens of Jesus model prayer.
1) “Preservation Gospel”
God’s will for the church on this earth includes telling the full story of the Gospel. It begins with creation and culminates with restoration that comes through the process of redemption.
“Preservation Gospel”, motivated by the personal security of life after death, tends to forget that there are still people living on this earth who need restoration from the original sin caused by the disobedience of the first couple in the Garden of Eden.
I wonder if Jesus would consider “preservation gospel” as hypocritical as those who used their prayers to gain attention in the synagogues and on the street corners?
2) “Vain repetitions”
Conversations in the church foyer once driven by a passion for reaching lost people have been replaced with phrases like: “it’s just not the way it used to be”. Some are choosing to hibernate into the church cave of history and tradition, reminiscing about “the good ole days”.
For others, “God’s will on earth as it is in heaven” has been replaced by “even so Lord Jesus” come quickly and get us out of the mess that the generations coming behind us are making of “our church“.
I wonder if Jesus would consider these church foyer conversations as “vain repetitions”?
Max Kampelman (a former ambassador in the Regan administration) once said: “We can’t just see the world in terms of how it is today, or we will always feel defeated…when we see the world in terms of how things ought to be, we can dream for the impossible – and work to see it become reality.”
We need to change the foyer conversations from “the way things used to be” to “the way things ought to be”. This is where tradition meets innovation.
3) “Perverted traditions”
Self centered tradition that is based upon “the good ole days” and the “way it used to be”, is what I call `perverted traditions`.
God centered traditions motivated by Jesus model of restoration, teach us “the way it ought to be”. Jesus went where lost people lived; He identified their hurts and needs, bringing healing wherever He went.
I wonder if Jesus grieves over “perverted traditions” that are threatening to kill the church that He died for two thousand years ago?
The traditional message of Jesus has not changed in 2000 years – the innovation of how to share that traditional message is what is changing!!!!
We need to ask ourselves if the Church, God’s kingdom on this earth, is quickly giving up the “high ground” it once occupied because it is choosing a “perverted tradition” over “empowered innovation”.
As I said last week, if we are honest with ourselves, there are those in the church that would prefer to hold on to “perverted traditions” and let the church die rather than go through the pain of change that innovation produces in the church.
Tradition + Innovation = Restoration
Until next Monday…