Do I And The Church Need To Be "Born Again"?
When Jesus came to earth he never established an institution, a structure, a program, a model, he majored in people. He touched the sick, not only taught the multitudes but fed them, mourned over the death of an only child raising that child from the dead for the glory of its mother, even exhorted John to take care of his mother while hanging on the cross. One of the keys to Jesus ministry was “the human element”.
- · What happens when we lose “the human element”? Is an institution born, a structure birthed and set in order, a program put in place to be practiced?
- · What happens when “streaming the Sunday Services over the internet” becomes more important than visiting the shut-ins? How many shut-ins do you know? When was the last time you visited one?
- · What happens when watching the National Geographic Channel’s excellent programs on Maximum Security Prisons, Locked Up Abroad, and doing Hard Time takes the place of actually visiting the prisoners in prison. How many people in prison do you know? Have you ever visited your local prison? When a prisoner is released, where are they to go, back to the streets, back to the environment that has poisoned them? And in our pious attitudes we wonder why they “don’t make it” and eventually become a “repeater”!
- · What happens to orphans? Jesus said, “Let the little ones come unto me.” Orphanages, do they even exist today? Instead we have “programs” and “human services”? Have you ever participated in a Big Brother or Big Sister Program? Is the lost child to be taken care of by our government through “Children’s Services” or by the Church?
- · How about the widow? Is she the Church’s responsibility? According to the Bible, YES! The Welfare System, A.A.R.P. or Medicare was not God’s best effort to help the widow; it was our way of creating a system to detach us from our responsibilities.
The first century Church fed one another, took care of their orphans and widows, addressed the issues of the oppressed, the prisoners, the down trodden, clothed the naked, healed the sick. They did not count on Caesar, although still instructed to pay taxes to him to support “his system”, but counted on Jesus Christ and His kingdom to meet their needs. Jesus always focused on “the human element”.
So I ask, “Does the Church, itself, need a rebirth?” Do we, the Church, especially I, a believer in Jesus Christ, need to rebirth, rekindle, redirect, refocus on the human element of “loving my neighbor”, even “loving my enemy”? Do I need to birth if I have never done it before, or rebirth, if I have but lost the passion, a desire to visit the sick, the imprisoned, the orphan, the elderly, and the widow? Do I need to birth or rebirth my lifestyle to include them? Or do I just “go to church” enjoy the benefits of the structure, institution, and services? Has “church” become “convenient”? Has the church you attend become program-matic, institutionalized, so structured that you attending it allows you to not really get involved in the daily life and activities of the others who attend? Has it, better yet, have you lost “the human element”? If so, then maybe you need to have that be “birthed” or “born again” in you! Yes the Church itself, and me, as a believer needs to be “born again”, experience a rebirth?