Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Losing and finding

As I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on my journey and what has led me down the path of church planting, the recurrence of "losing and finding" has surfaced. While I have been fortunate to not face many involuntary and tragic losses, I have experienced the losses that are often a necessary part of life. The loss of friends, comfort, stability, dependence, and dreams are just a few examples of what most of us experience at some point in our lives.

I have also seen this theme revealed in scripture. Many of God's followers left much behind in response to God's guidance. Jesus himself traveled from place to place with little evidence of carrying many belongings with him. Ultimately, Jesus and some of his loyal followers would lose their very lives. We find these words in the 16th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew:

21From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” 23But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

24Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? 27“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

As I read these words, I am reminded of the life that can emerge from losing something for the sake of Christ. The problem is, we do not know what there is to gain when we choose to give something up. We do not know when and where we will experience new life. I have to believe that Jesus knew this doubt when he faced the hour of losing his own life and cried out to God that if there be any way this cup could be taken from him. I have to believe that Jesus, too, struggled with the uncertainty of what was to come. Nonetheless, Jesus chose to enter into the unknown. Losses, no matter how necessary, are not easy; however, they lead to life. That is the peculiar, yet amazing message of the gospel.

In my life's journey, I have chosen to lose once again. I have chosen to begin down what I have been told will be a stressful, lonely, difficult road. I have decided to be a church planter, but more than that I have decided to start a faith community that follows the way of Christ. This means it will not be entertainment-driven. It will not be about giving people easy answers. It will not be a community that is defined by programs and buildings. It WILL be a community that includes everyone. It will be a community that loves deeply. It will be a community that speaks boldy on behalf of the oppressed. It will be a community that continues the life and ministry that was begun by Jesus.

I am aware that I have chosen a difficult road. It is not always the popular way and it does not always draw the masses, but I believe that the way of "lose"(rs) is also the way of Jesus. "For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it." As I leave behind some old patterns and begin new ways of being church, I am eager to see when and where I will see experience the wonder of new life.

No comments:

Post a Comment