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Wardrobe Change

When groups get ready to go on trips, it is customary and right to gather round and pray for “traveling mercies.” Of course, the pastor (if present) is called upon to offer the prayer. I have been grateful to pray to God for saftey for groups of children, youth, and adults as they have journeyed to camps, retreates, and dinners. I am thankful about it because the prayers have been answered and the travels have been safe.

However, a few years ago, as I was praying before one of our mission journeys to the Rio Grande Valley, I circled with the group before we got on the bus/van/trucks/cars and felt led to pray this way: “Dear God, please keep us safe upon this mission trip, except when you want it to be dangerous.” It caused a change in my thinking (not my driving, we all want that to be safe) about the mission of the church. Sometimes, we want safety in the church. We preach safety in the church. “Just start following Jesus and everything will be alright,” we say. Except it hasn’t been that way for 2,000 years.

There is nothing more dangerous for the church than to follow Jesus. But there is no path safer than in the will of God.

I don’t know that everyone gets it (or wants to), but there is a sense of comfort that isn’t promised the church. Paul writes in Romans 13:14, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  Putting on Jesus clothes isn’t going to make us comfortable in worldly garb. Yet, the church (aka Body of Christ) keeps trying on the latest fashion.  When we do, we lose precious moments to change the world.

Our quirky, out of step, appearance (figuratively) is our best way to show the New Community God designed in the church is the Best Community for the world. We may not have the best lightshow, latte, or loudspeakers, but we do have the best Love.  A not-so-old hymn We are Called to be God’s People (Thomas A. Jackson, Copyright 1975, Broadman Press) says it very well:

We are called to be God’s people, showing by our lives His grace,
one in heart and one in spirit, sign of hope for all the race.
Let us show how He has changed us, and remade us as His own,
let us share our life together as we shall around His throne.

We are called to be God’s servants, working in His world today;
taking His own task upon us, all His sacred words obey.
Let us rise, then, to His summons, dedicate to Him our all,
that we may be faithful servants, quick to answer now His call.

We are called to be God’s prophets, speaking for the truth and right,
standing firm for godly justice, bringing evil things to light.
Let us seek the courage needed, our high calling to fulfill,
that the world may know the blessing of the doing of God’s will.

Cry Justice…

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