THE CHURCH OF THE UNINTERESTED AND UNINVOLVED?
Preaching from Jonah last weekend this thought came to me but didn’t make into the sermon but I thought I should share it.
Churches often call themselves after the biblical character which is their patron saint, that they are sort of inspired by. I can imagine a congregation calling themselves St Barnabas’s because they wanted to be encouraging or Saint John’s because they wanted their congregation to be characterise by the same kind of love that earned John the nickname, the Apostle of Love.
I have never seen a church called Saint Jonah’s, I dont think that there is a community of God’s people who have chosen the runaway prophet as their patron saint, but I think many churches act like they do. Here is what I mean
In Jonah chapter one, in the middle of a terrible storm that’s threatening to rip the ship apart and drown everyone in it the pagan captain goes looking for their passenger. He finds Jonah sleeping and rebukes God’s messenger for being unconcerned by the danger they were all facing and doing nothing to help. In the middle of the storm, they were literally all “in the same boat” but Jonah, God’s representative, didn’t seem concerned and certainly didn’t offer any kind of help. Jonah slept the sleep of indifference and apathy, concerned only about his own situation.
When you think about it in our society there are so many problems that we are the in “the same boat” with, with those who are different from us. I wonder if we as God’s representatives today are doing any better than Jonah? Do we share a common concern with those in our country, communities and families for the problems that we are all facing? Are we doing anything to help our fellow citizens with the common problems we experience here in the Vaud? Do we even know what they are? Would they look at us, as the pagan captain looked at Jonah and then rebuke us for our indifference to and involvement in our common dilemmas?
Tim Keller comments about all of this “We deserve the critique of the world if the church does not exhibit visible love in practical deeds to address the common problems in society. The captain had every right to rebuke a believer who was oblivious to the problems of the people around him and doing nothing for them”
I wonder how many churches are just like Jonah? Those around them in their community are facing pressing, dangerous and destructive problems but they keep their distance and are uninterested and uninvolved in those problems? What about us at Westlake? What about me? What about you?