By Kevin Sinclair, Minister to Youth
Since coming to South Main in the Summer of 2008, I think I may have heard the word “share” more than I had in the previous 26 years of my life. As a centralizing image in our Vision of what being a follower of Jesus Christ looks like, we as a church family have adopted the popular and easily noticeable, “Worship, Discover, and Share.” As a word-enthusiast (Yes, I am quite easily entertained), I love the inexhaustible nature of language. Just as Steve discussed the evolution of English words such as artificial and meek on the Third Sunday of Lent, all words possess within them a richness and depth that grows and changes over time. Like children growing into their own skin and becoming teenagers right before our eyes, words wiggle and warp to become more accurate or creative ways to express the ineffable, unfathomable feelings and emotions we experience in our souls. So, for me, summing up or Christian and South Mainer identity with three words is a enticing invitation into reflection, conversation, and action as the family of God in this place.
I have spent Sunday after Sunday being washed in the beauty and grandeur of our sanctuary while worshipping with my church family; I have spent a Friday night and Saturday with some dear, close friends and made some new friends at Discovery Weekend discovering my Spiritual Gifts (a few were a surprise!); I had the joy of participating in Next Wave and sharing together with my church family in the building of not only beautiful, safe space for the youth, but also in the communal conversation about stewardship and fiscal responsibility as Believers. Now, a new task lies ahead of us.
You are about to hear a gaggle of folk talk about sharing, but this time we searching deeper in our souls to uncover that sacred part of each believer: the very faith the stirs our spirits to action, that we cling to in our darkest moments, and bring with us to worship the Living God every Sunday morning as the called and consecrated community of Christ.
You’re never more like Jesus than when you share…so what did Jesus share?
He shared everything! He shared his faith and trust in his Abba Father in Heaven! He shared his compassion and love with outcasts, prostitutes, greedy money-handlers, and oppressive, violent Roman soldiers. Everyone we would WANT Jesus to reject, cast aside, and criticize, he held open arms of love and grace to invite them to participate in God’s redemptive work in our world. But, if we don’t share the good news about what God is doing in our individual lives, in our corporate life as South Main, or throughout the whole of Creation…who will? All of us have received the gift of this church and have been blessed by it because someone else brought us or invited us. Appreciation and gratitude are nothing if they are only words; they must manifest in action and behavior. Sharing together during the Next Wave campaign was exciting and wonderful, but it can’t stop there! Buildings do not a Church make, but only the Holy Spirit binding together broken bits of our fragmented existence into the reconciled and transformed Body of Christ. Our beautiful, inviting physical plant give us space to grow together, work together, and play together as community, but long before there was a church at 4100 Main St., there was a lil’ ol’ Tuam Baptist Church, up the road. And long, long before there was a Tuam Baptist Church, Believers and Followers of the Way gathered in houses and public forums to share together not only the Gospel but life itself. The Church is no more the buildings we inhabit than the Word of God is the leather binding hugging the paper pages of my Bible. There is something deeper and realer than the places we sit and gather…it is the very people whose lives are being transformed, shook apart, mended together, and flipped upside down by the presence, teaching, miracles, death, and resurrection of the homeless, penniless, itinerant preacher from Nazareth. We have come together to build space–and break-taking space it is–but our call to share the good news that Christ has died and resurrected to conquer sin and death thereby declaring “Behold, I am making all things New!” This hope we share with each other is indispensable to our call to follow Christ.
I’m not talking about throwing tracts at people or going door to door like Spiritual Amway Salespeople. I’m talking about letting your conversations go deeper with people, keeping an open ear, eye, and heart to see the loneliness and brokenness of those around you, or inviting someone you know and care about to “Come and See” what God is doing in this place that we call South Main. Ken Chafin once said, “If the Church isn’t for everybody, then it’s for nobody.” Everyone needs a place to call home. Everyone needs to hear some good news. and Everyone needs to know that there is a God who knows their name, sees their face, and seeks joy for their life.
Worship…Discover…and, well, you know what to do…
Grace & Peace,