Monday, May 16, 2011
What Happened to People of Vision
When we look at early church days after the resurrection, the Holy Spirit was so active; we are told that many signs and wonders were produces by the disciples. God’s activity was running rapid even though the church was persecuted by outside authorities. Steven was one such believer who’s strong beliefs and vision resulted in his death. His love for Christ, his passion for the church, and his determination to tell his story caused the people to cover their ears, drag him out of town, and stone him to death. The leader of this death party was none other than Saul.
Today our passionate beliefs seem to be tempered by the time in which we live. Most people in our community feel as if they can manage quite nicely with or without God. They claim those who don’t practice worship are apparently no worse off than those who do participate in worship, and sometime seems just at content and happy. All of this may have the effect of diminishing the burning passion we might feel for Jesus. Those who come fresh to the church are more fervent in their passion for Christ, but those who have been worshippers since the cradle may be more laid back about their passion for Jesus. They often have a quiet worship style and can be quite disturbed by the sort of excitement, fervor, and passion shown by those like Steven, by new Christians, and by visions. Those with this quiet sort of deep, inner passion are often mature in their faith. They have a depth of faith and understanding which only comes with increasing years and living out their faith. But the downside is that they miss out on some of the excitement of the signs, wonders, and visions that accompany passionate following Jesus. Sadly, most of the time, their inner spirituality may not be immediately apparent to those with whom they come into contact, so will not necessarily enable the church to grow.
These days there is no need for martyrdom. People can worship freely wherever and whenever they choose, but it seems that paradoxically, fewer bother to worship when worship is freely available. Even today, in those countries where Christianity is suppressed, the Church is full to bursting because people need God and God's support and the freedom God promises. How can we once again fill our churches with a real, deep Christian longing? Perhaps we need more visions. Perhaps we should dare to dream dreams and to follow visions, even when those dreams and visions threaten our comfortable way of life. Stephen followed Christ by giving up his life for the Gospel. Can we do any less?
See ya in church but until then take care of yourself and one another,
Peace & Grace,