Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hide and Seek

When was the last time you played hide-and-seek?
I remember playing this as a kid. Honestly, I played this just the pother day WITH the kids. There is no simpler game, right? Someone count while every one else hides. Now they have to find someone and tag them.

Simple. The we had to change the rules. As we got older the simple game seemed, well, too simple! We then started adding new rules:
  • Move from hiding spot
  • Safety zones
  • Kick the can
  • Jail
  • Tag out of jail
The purity of the game was its simplicity! Everyone could play! If you could count, then you could play. Something within us decided that we had to make complex that which was simple. It seems that we do the same thing in church, doesn't it?

Church is supposed to be simple. A group of people who love God gather together to express their love and devotion while also receiving a message from Scripture. Why do we make it so complex? In this age of technology, which I love, we are determined to mess up the simplicity of church. We bring complexity in a variety of ways.

We try to hide our past because if others in church knew our past they would reject me. This isn't too difficult for those who are not indigenous to the community. However, for those who grew up in the community it becomes extremely complex. "Joe" may be living for Jesus today but everyone knows the little terror he was as a child and/or teenager. "Janet" may not be living for Jesus right now and all we see what she used to be without giving thought to how she needs help today.

Hide and Seek.

We try to hide our present. The technical word for this is hypocrite. Ouch! Doesn't that word sting? Attempting to hide our present is the majority of complications we have today. There are those who are immoral in town and "pure" in the church. I believe the devil is more subtle in his approach. Hypocrisy means to not be who you are in all places. We complicate matters because we read Paul who says that he became all things to all people. This sentiment is not the discussion here. How often I find people with whom I laugh and enjoy life with during the week only to find them all buttoned up and zipped up in church service. What a travesty? If we cannot be ourselves as we gather, then we have taken the simple and made it complex.

Hide and Seek.

What am I talking about? Did you know that Jesus faced this same issue? In Luke 4:14-30 Jesus has gone home. He is in church on the weekend as the guest speaker. Most likely, he was a well-respected member of the community. He rises and quotes Isaiah 61.1-2. He then proceeds to sit down, as was the custom, and speak to this passage. Do you remember what He said? Today this is fulfilled before your very eyes.

What did He say?
Someone tell me He did not just refer to Himself as the Messiah?

Hide and Seek.

Jesus could not run from his past. Humanity has a way of shackling us a preconceived notion and understanding. He was calling into question everything they had believed. The carpenter's son could NEVER be the Messiah. He is not royal enough! He is too human! He is too much like us! Even Philip had his moment when he said, "Nazareth? Can anything good come from Nazareth?" I find some solace in that fact that Jesus could not outrun the complications of the world. He was challenging them to overcome the humanity around us and put away past realities. What a strong word for the church today! We, the forgiven, are to accept each other as we are. We are not a perfect people. We do not have perfect churches, classes, or music. We do not have perfect pastors, families, or kids. We are human. Jesus challenged them to overcome the hypocrisy. Be who you are as God designed.

Let us release each other from the past that plagues us. Respond with love and grace while remembering who you are in Jesus. May we spur each other on to love and good works!

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