What if I asked you to take your church building and burn it down? What if I told you to take the things that were most integral to your faith and put them in the fire? What if I told you the only way to save your faith was to burn it down?
Paul said that he was to know nothing but Christ and him crucified. What have we diluted the message of Christ with? Christ didn’t come to be a self-help guru. He didn’t come to make us millionaires. And he surely didn’t come to make us feel good.
The only church that illuminates is a burning one.- Pyotor Kropotkin
Christ came to save us. He came to save us from ourselves. He came to show us a path to wholeness through an emptying of ourselves. He came to remind us of what the prophets before him told us. He came with a message of good news for the poor. He came with a message of binding up the wounds of the brokenhearted. He came with a message of sight to the blind.
Yet, the messages we hear are about “10 Easy Steps…” to whatever. Following Jesus is a lot of things, but easy isn’t one of them. And, if our following of Christ has become easy, then I think it’s safe to say we’re not following Christ. Jesus called us to “leave our nets” and follow him. That means we leave our stability. We leave our jobs. And maybe, even we leave our churches.
Are our churches getting in the way of following Jesus? Is our dedication to preserving the institution getting in the way of serving our neighbors? Are our churches preaching good news to the poor? Are they opening up the eyes of the soul-blind? Are we bringing healing to the brokenhearted? If not, we’re not following in the footsteps of Jesus.
It’s time to count it as horse dung if it’s not Jesus. It’s time to burn it down. Fire is painful, but it also brings healing. Fire purifies. It’s time to prune back the limbs of our faith that are weighing down our trees of life.
It’s time for a holy bonfire and we have to start with ourselves.
I start with me.
I prune back the limb of judgment and pride that grew from the roots of righteous indignation and piety that said I was better than others because of the church I attended.
I prune back the limb of having to be right that grew from the root of insecurity.
I prune back the limb of certainty that grew from the root of my lack of faith.
What about you?
What limbs do you prune back and throw into the fire?