Thursday, March 17, 2011

Doing Church

But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.

Matthew 9:17b

In ten weeks I have worshipped at eight churches. There’s a lot of talk about “doing church” differently but so far I haven’t seen any significant change. Flashing images have replaced crosses, drums pound in lieu of organs vibrating, shirt tails instead of suits are the norm but the structure has essentially stayed the same. This truth I learned, on a recent Sunday, as I sat after singing a few songs, and listened to an hour sermon.

When the Jordan waters dripped from Jesus a genuine change happened. The traditionalists became aware of an uncomfortable sensation - change. Rituals and structure began to crumble under the words, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” They flailed about as their religious “plates” shifted, unceremoniously dumping them into the unfamiliar. Jesus brought a new paradigm, a different way to “do church” in the world. Very little of his ministry happened in the synagogue. Most of it was spent on dusty roads, amongst pressing crowds, crowded dining tables, rolling hills.

If I want Jesus’ new wine paradigm to influence my world I guess that I need to chuck "the way it used to be" wineskins and start making new ones. As uncomfortable as it may become, I’m going to move beyond the way “church” used to be, because the world isn’t the way it used to be.

Jesus, you transcend time, cultures and centuries.
Help us to be paradigm shifters, showing You to the world in a new way.

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