This is the letter that I wrote for the Eighth Letter campaign. You can find out more about this project here
Dear Church in North America,
I write to you today as a long time friend. I was raised as one of your own since infancy and there has never been a time in my life when I have not been a part of this family. There have been times when I have rejoiced in what we are doing and times that I have wept over what we have failed to do, but there has never been a time when I have abandoned you or my faith in Jesus.
While there are areas where we likely have disagreement, one area where I believe we share a common goal is that of a drawing of all people to Jesus. I hope that my own life has been changed by the love that He has shown me through His death and resurrection, and I hope that I have conveyed that love to those who I meet in my life. We see people in our land hurting and we desire to see them healed. And one way that we believe this healing can happen is through Jesus.
As a long-time member of the Church in North America, one passage that I have heard many times regarding this revival is 2 Chronicles 7:14. It speaks of God healing our land, and while it was a promise made to Israel, many Christians choose to embrace it for our own nations. However, I do question how closely we are reading this verse.
The first thing that I notice is that the tendency is to look at this passage as though it is speaking to those outside of the Church. Perhaps not the praying part or the seeking Gods face part, but the turning from our wicked ways part certainly. So we rally behind things like outlawing stem cell research and amendments denying gay marriage and boycotting stores that say Happy Holidays. Or well rally behind laws to prevent sex trafficking or the need for universal health care or fair trade coffee. We see things that we believe are wicked and seem to think that if we clean those up out there, perhaps God will bless our nations.
And in so doing, I believe we forget the very first part of the message that God gave to Israel. The first command, before praying, before seeking His face, before anything else, was to practice humility. Humility is not fun and its not easy. Its far easier to get behind a cause with a slogan than it is to be humble.
Humility requires that we get our hands dirty. It requires us to be a part of the solution in a very practical way. It requires us to see those with whom we disagree as our equals. It requires a personal investment.
I believe that the Church at large has seemed to miss this more personal approach. We have favored causes over individuals. We have played political games and made that a measuring stick of ones commitment to Christ. We have chosen pride over humility.
Many individuals choose better. I see people volunteer at soup kitchens. I see people spend time with prostitutes. I see people donate money to help cover medical expenses. I see people give of themselves to women who are struggling with an unplanned pregnancy. There are numerous opportunities to see the people of God choosing to engage on a personal level with the hurting around them and I am grateful for those who have taken the idea of humility to heart.
I pray that as we seek Gods face, we follow the example that God in the flesh gave us. That we see how Jesus interacted with those who were hurting around him. That we model ourselves after the way he spoke and acted. That we emulate his humility. I believe that as we do that, we will see people drawn to the One who we are imitating and we will experience healing. Not only in the world, but inside our churches as well.
If you were writing a letter to the Church, what would you say? If you’ve participated in the Eighth Letter project, please share a link to your own letter.