If we have learned anything at all as believers living the new COVID induced way of life for the whole world to witness, it is this: We don’t need a structure to magnify and worship God with all our hearts, minds and souls.
We have learned that NOTHING will stop the praise and worship of God. We realize that God is in control and will always be in control. The cages of our thinking have been rattled. The prison doors of our self-protected being and behaving have been thrown open to a much wider, world-wide audience!
“We’re in this together” takes on new meanings and methods. We strive to stay together, without devouring each other, as God’s imperfect but growing people, all while working to reach beyond with Good News influence with new understandings gained by God “being with us” in the crisis. Yes, God is teaching those who are listening with “eyes to see and ears to hear”. And the evil one hates the listeners and attacks accordingly.
We have heard God speak new life with new thinking into our more rapidly beating hearts in this pause from in-person church services and all the busyness that goes with it to make us aware of a whole world of people who are searching for the Way, Truth and Life that we have freely received and must freely give. We have learned that online seekers walk and talk differently from us. They live in a culture that is foreign to us. Most are anonymous, afraid to be known but with a unique desire to be acknowledged by the Creator.
Created in our being is the desire to belong. Jesus knows we need each other, so He built his “church” upon his most “extra grace required” disciple. But Jesus would scold anyone who would not put God first, hear his command to go and tell which is BEING the church (a people) to the whole world that He loves in whatever form that takes.
You are probably thinking, where is she going with this? Bear with me. As soon as the extreme Holiness of the Transfiguration experience struck these three intimate disciples, while in awe, one of them immediately wants to build a structure to commemorate the experience. What does God say about this? Nothing.
God does not respond to Peter with “Yes, build a structure on this mountain for all to see with desire to make a pilgrimage on Christmas and Easter to see and experience each year.”
No, God says, ““This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
LISTEN TO HIM. Our very lives depend on Him. Our lives should be centered and focused on Him. Our very being is connected like a branch to the Vine of our existence. He is the Way, Truth and the Life eternal and unchanging. He is love like you have never experienced before that is relentless and unconditional. Listen to Him which means be and do what He says.
When the disciples realized that GOD was talking to them they immediately fell face down in fearful awe and worship. In that moment, they came to know God in a real, authentic, undeniable intimate way that began a relationship that would last for eternity.
What happened next is so beautiful tears seep from my eyes.
Jesus comes to the three and “touched them”. Jesus gently lifts their heads from their place of humility to God with, “Don’t be afraid.”
The finale is what we need to grasp and hang on to for dear life: “They looked up and saw no one but Jesus”.
Peter forgot about building structures, fear was gone, all because of hearing from God with a time of authentic worship of God alone, followed by the touch of Jesus. Later the power of the Holy Spirit of God would come and dwell in Peter in ways that would change the world forever. All because of God. Not Peter.
In our worship, may we think about only God. May we see no one but Jesus.
In Jesus’ command to us to “go and tell”, may we focus more on the authoritative command with less emphasis on our structures and methods. It is not the structure that saves and grows us. It is Jesus.
Go and tell happens in the believer’s daily walk. We are the “church” that gets up and goes to where the lost are…in our very midst of families, friends and neighborhoods. Structures can’t do that. Go and tell comes from God through us propelled by the power of His Holy Spirit living in us. When we believe we receive this power to see no one but Jesus in our pursuit to help others find and follow Jesus, too. Why? Because we are learning to love like God loves…
God loved the whole world so He gave His only Son, Jesus…
AND Jesus’ go and tell command comes with a promise: “I will be with you always.” NO ONE can promise that but Jesus.
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”
11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.
THINK ABOUT IT…
In Purpose Driven Life, Pastor Rick Warren begins this best selling book that still reaches the world with these humbling powerful, heart stopping, thought provoking, life changing words in the first sentence:
“It’s not about you.”
It’s not about church structures as they were and are now. Church is important but very imperfect. Church is not a place you visit but a people who eyes are on their Savior, growing in Christ as the Head of their gathered group who meets in homes, online, at the office after hours, in a store front or under a tree in a small village.
God’s true church, knowing their places of imperfection, look up from their knees in worship to see no one but Jesus as Savior and Lord. Right now we see only our messy, imperfect lives, desiring an intimate, growing forever relationship with God, our Father made possible by His Son dying for us. We see no one but Jesus.
That’s why we don’t invite people to “church”, we persuade them to come to Jesus because we are beginning to love like Jesus and see their need to be loved by Him, too!
It’s all about Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You have taken my thought process to a place that forces me to think more deeply about who I am and what I say as your representative of saving grace each day. Oh Lord, help me to understand more so that I can pass on what you are really saying to us as you transform us. I see you. I worship you. I trust in you only for life eternal. It is indeed all about seeing and hearing you as we learn to obey every prompt that you give us to go and tell. Thank you for teaching us in this life altering crisis to depend on you alone for life.
In Jesus Name, Amen