On another website deep within the United Methodist blogosphere (we put the dark in “dark web”), I came across the comment below. Written by a lay member of a United Methodist congregation in another part of the country, it contains an impassioned description of the church’s ministry:
For a tiny church we do a lot. We make 30 lunch bags a month, plus three hot lunches a year for those in need at our own expense. We have a free mobile food pantry that we offer on a regular basis. We supply the town clerk’s office with ShopRite cards for desperate families. We visit a low income senior disabled apt. complex 2 times a year to visit and do chores. We hosted a pet adoption day and donated pet supplies on Blessing of the Animals. We had a solitary confinement awareness conference and set up a life-sized cell.
Noble activities, all. Sounds like a busy place with people who are fiercely engaged.
But in the midst of all the projects, one emphasis is conspicuous by its absence: the proclamation of Jesus as Crucified Savior, Risen Lord, and Returning King.
Maybe it’s implied. Perhaps I’m quibbling.
But when what should be mentioned first isn’t mentioned at all, it gets me wondering: is the reason for our denomination’s struggles located in our hesitation to name the name of Jesus?
Do we seek to demonstrate that we are a “peculiar people” more by our good works than by the simple fact that we are a bought community, the purchase price being his blood?
Because while it is true that faith without works is dead, I believe it’s more true that works without faith is empty.
So brag on your church. But boast about your church’s Lord even more. I have been realizing of late that I need to put less effort into making people like Good Shepherd and more into helping them love THE Good Shepherd.