A friend of mine, a church planter in Jefferson City, Marc Backes, just wrote an awesome post on the powerful images of community in President-Elect Obama’s speech last night.? Go here to read the full post.? But here are some nice exerpts . . .
Parts of his acceptance speech last night struck me in one very unique way. They resonated with a powerful Biblical theme and they went to the very core of why I think the church is struggling to stay relevant with younger generations of people.
And so last night as I watched Obama give his speech, I was struck by one thing. There was a deep thread of community woven throughout the speech. Once again, I?m going on the face value of the comments and making no commentary about them. Here?s a couple key excerpts:
It?s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.
Sounds a lot like ?every tribe, every nation, every tongue? doesn?t it? The church isn?t made up of rich, poor, Jew or Gentile. We are the church.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other??In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people??to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can?t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.
As you watched last night, and as the American people indicated by their votes (regardless of whether you think rightly or wrongly), that sense of call to community resonated. And I think it?s resonating in a deep way in the hearts of people who are tired of going to church and feeling alone. Who are tired of struggling to be good Christ followers and believing that they have no one they can turn to. Who are ready for the church to be a place where we truly do love, honor, welcome, greet, serve, teach, admonish, sing, support, encourage, forgive, bear the burdens of, and fellowship with one another all unto the Glory of God?.
OK, so not a few excerpts, because I felt it necessary to get you folks who don’t follow links to read the meat of his thoughts!
I can recall a time when my friend, Daniel Scott and I were eating at an establishment down in Galloway that there was so much community there it was scary!? The problem was that it wasn’t the true kind of community that a group of people might have with Christ in the center of the community.? I remember thinking that there has got to be a way for the Church, the True Community, ought to be like that community–at least in it’s acceptance and love that seemed to be there in that place.
The problem, I think, (and what our small group studied on Monday night) is that we as believers have become so concerned that people do the right things that we focus on the externals.? What we really ought to focus on, as the old evangelists used to say “focus on what Christ has done.”? We need to focus on our own depravity that has been washed clean by the blood of Christ and begin to be a unifying force for real, lasting change in our world.? But that starts with me . . . if I have the courage to love like Jesus loved.? That’s a tough start indeed.