Sunday, March 31, 2013
No More Labels
I ran across a YouTube video of Naomi Klein, the author of “Shock Doctrine” and “No More Labels”, discussing the latter book. It dawned on me as I was thinking about the book and what that means... that we have to stop buying into brands, that what's really important isn't the brand, but the quality of the product and that isn't always reflected by the brand name or label. As believers, I believe we need to do the same with brands or labels in the body of Christ.
As a non-denominational believer, which is really what Congregationalism is about... each congregation declaring its statement of faith and coming together with other's of like-minded faith... we've got to stop putting labels on Christ and on His Church. Should it really matter if you're Catholic (which means universal by the way) or Lutheran or Church of God in Christ, or Presbyterian when it comes to our core beliefs or the condition of the body? Don't we all believe in the same Jesus... that he died on the cross, was buried in a tomb and rose on the third day?
Should it really be a problem for the Lutheran Synod if Rev. Rob Morris, a Lutheran Pastor in Newtown CT, participates in an interfaith service, when his entire town has been devastated by the senseless murder of twenty six of Newtown's smallest and most defenseless residents? Should he have stayed away if everyone there didn't share traditional Lutheran beliefs and do we really think Jesus would have?
How are we to become “a body fitly joined together, joint supplying joint,[ Ephes. 4:16] if the “joints” are constantly trying to cut each other off... from purpose, from blessings from fellowship with the saints (and for my Catholic family out there, I believe that a “saint” is anyone who has been sanctified by the blood of Jesus, and that does not require evidence of miracles like the gift of bi-location) and from God? How are we to be true “living epistles read of men” when we don't live the Word... when we don't live Christ?
“Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” [2Corinthians 3:1-3] This is what Christ wants for us... for His body... His bride which is the Church.
Today, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, for me, the important thing to remember is not the suffering of His death, but of life resurrected. Jesus was only dead 3 days, and now he's alive forever, and in a glorified state... better than he ever was before! Better for us because what He gave, could only have been given by Him. Better for us because only His blood could cleanse us of all unrightiousness. He did for us what we were and are not capable of doing for ourselves and my prayer this Resurrection Sunday, is that He does the same for His Church. That the love of Christ enables us as His body, overcome the divisiveness and sectarianism organized religion seems to encourage. He died that we might truly have life... and life more abundantly, but I don't believe we can be resurrected if we continue the culture of labels and division we've created.
I don't believe that there has been any other time in modern history, that the Church has been more challenged, but our greatest challenge comes from within. We must return to our first Love... the Love that sustained and in fact grew the First Century Church under tremendous persecution. The Love that caused the Protestant Reformation, the Azuza Street Revival and drew most of us into the non-denominational movement of the 1980's and 1990's. The love that enables those of us who believe on His name, to become the Sons of God. “Which are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” [John 1:13]