May 4, 2010

Nashville, TN: The Little Church of Love

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -- it is by grace you have been saved.

  • Do you remember who you once where?
  • How bad it was?
  • Why do we forget that?

What is it about us that doesn't allow us to remember the crap we were living in before coming to Christ?

And yet..... we run to that, right back to it, over and over again.


What does that mean to you?
God gave you life, action, animation, do you feel it?
Why do we act so dead? Cynical, tired people, using terms like "through the mill" and "end of my rope." -

This is the message we received from this loving little church in Nashville. (Ha! and you thought those words above were my own brilliance, no, they are notes I took from a sermon) This church is a branch off a big, downtown church, started in the historic Trinity Episcopal Church building on Lafayette Street near the artsy Belmont University. Being near Belmont, we suspected the congregation would be young, ecclectic. They were.

I wanted to chain this little church to the back of my car and take it home with me. I fell in love with these people.
We got a cup of coffee in the back, made our way to a seat down front and listened while the band set up.

After sweet worship, the pastor entered and it seemed to me he had a bubble of love around him much like the bubble of dust around PigPen, the Charlie Brown character. I kept thinking of Toby Mac's lyrics "When love is in the house, the house is packed...." Love most definitely was in this house..
The pastor introduced John, a young artist from their downtown location.
John's role was to draw on a white board as the Pastor spoke, just draw and doodle whatever came to his mind as the Pastor talked. I have never in my life seen that in a church and it spoke (screamed) to my doodling, journalistic self, I loved it. (That's the pastor down front, sitting down with styrofoam cup of coffee, hand on cheek) By then John had doodled a self-portrait of himself doodling a self-portrait of himself doodling.....
Colossians 2. The Pastor wanted to talk about two Pauline concepts:
  • Redemption
  • Restoration

One, he said, we talk about a lot & one we hardly think about. Many of us have the mistaken theology that if we look deep inside ourselves, we can find our flaws and fix them -- If we can find our way out, then we can fix it & we can get a grip on our problems. (which very commonly results in our walking right back into our prisons)
In Colossians 2:13, Paul reminds you of what you were before you came to Christ -- Finding yourself dead in your sins and God making you alive in Christ. He indicates in Ephesians 2:1,2 that it is almost like being under a spell, rendering you totally unable to respond to God. It's important to understand the deadness, how deep the sin to understand how great the mercy, how great the Life.
And that brings us back to the top of this post, where I began: What does aliveness look like? It is NOT your weakness, your faults, your sins. Sin or weakness -- or your worst trait -- is not the defining thing about you, yet that's how most of us define each other. Oh, he's a ______ or she's a _______.

  • Is that why Christ died?
  • Is that what aliveness looks like? To keep bringing up the past, our failures?
  • Do you think you are unloveable?
  • Is it love that makes you alive?
What animates us as believers, this breathing of life into us? This love that Christ brings? Even though we think "How in the world could you love me?"
The work of Christ on the cross is what makes us alive, that puts life into dead men and women. Don't you ever think it's your personal work that did it. If your personal work did it, then your personal failings could un-do it and that's just not true.
Then, as if the doodling on the white board wasn't enough to make me feel understood, then, people, during the altar call, the pastor instructed us to "pray, sing, journal, whatever it is you feel led to do right now......" Journal?!!! My jaw dropped. This is the first person in the world who gets me. I journaled, you know it. It's the altar call -- people are singing, praying and I felt complete ease & acceptance to journal. I'm alive and my heart was moved, my heart's desire was to journal, capture it, ponder it. My heart was moved and nobody thought I was weird. I love that little church.

1 comment:

~Connie said...

I just clicked the 'like' button!