A message does not change simply by revising the tone or the tune.
Our churches across America are convinced that if they became either softer or louder, the Gospel message will land on the hearts of the people more efficiently. There is also a strong contingency which contends that the music, styles and even instruments used in worship services are the key to drawing in the masses.
We have tried both of these methodologies, and we’re still losing people–and the general empathy for Christianity is diminishing.
Whatever Jesus did to share his thoughts and mission with the people around him was obviously more impactful and efficient than what we presently do. Matter of fact, Matthew the 9th Chapter, Verses 35-36, describe a day when Jesus enters the synagogue, teaches, preaches the new Gospel of the Kingdom and heals the sick–what you might call a complete package.
In other words, people come into the meeting, are challenged, changed and rid of some of their difficulties.
But it’s the next verse that makes me curious–that’s verse 36. It states that Jesus was “moved with compassion because the multitudes were harassed and helpless, like sheep having no shepherd.”
I guess I’ve always heard that interpreted in a positive way, spotlighting Jesus as the solution to the problem. A solution he may be, but not by offering the same insipid message that was already harassing the multitudes, leaving them helpless.
The present thrust and blending of Judeo-Christian values which is presented in the average church harasses us in our sins and inadequacies while simultaneously putting us at the mercy of society, and sometimes even the devil–helpless.
I do not understand what the value is of going to church if you’re going to be harassed and left helpless.
I also do not know how value could come to your life by constantly wandering around like a sheep looking for someone to give you directions.
Jesus was not describing a situation which he planned on addressing with a band-aid. Jesus intended to remove the harassment, empower the people and take away the silly, unfortunate profile of being sheepish.
1. Even though we’re sinners, it does us no good to languish in that knowledge. We need to repent and move on, not hear it preached at us every single week.
2. We need to stop harassing the congregation with foolish discussions of worship approaches, prayer seminars and new ways to express our hospitality, and instead, give people tools to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.”
3. We need to stop victimizing the people who come to the church building by making them feel like they’re the underdogs in a world of tribulation.
4. We need to understand that Christianity is not a religion, but rather, a lifestyle, and therefore works best when it’s presented in small doses of ideas which enhance human life, and then follow it up through patient trial and error.
5. There is no Christianity without love and appreciation of one another. We cannot replace it with worship or ignore it with prayer, and merely attending the church service does not guarantee that we “love our neighbor as ourselves.”
6. We would do better to teach people to want God in their lives instead of making them needy.
7. And even though we are “sheep in the midst of wolves,” we gain the advantage by being “as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.”
Jesus was moved with compassion because religion had harassed the people, leaving them helpless, stumbling around like lost sheep.
The harvest he suggested his disciples pursue was to gather those souls from the danger of meaningless proclamations of faith and lead them to a place where their faith had meaning and their proclamations began to move mountains.