In his latest book, “A Door Set Open,” I’m discovering that Peter Steinke has been reading a lot of N.T. Wright. Steinke’s observations about the church’s mission are not new…and readers of Wright would not be surprised at all by his conclusions. None of what I write next is necessarily new, but it remains relevant and critical now if the Church is going to offer a hopeful mission today.
Because many modern Christians see salvation as purely an individualistic thing (hence “me and my salvation), they are not caring enough to engage the world. Many congregations have disengaged from their communities, seemingly rejoicing more in being part of the club than part of Christ’s mission. Focus on “me and my salvation” leads quickly to a “me and my church”-mindset. But is “me and my church” the same thing as Christ and His Church?
Christ reordered the creation when He rose again. He restored the sort of community that Adam and Eve originally had with God and with one another. We now have a hope and that hope demands expression in the mission of the Church. Hope kept to oneself is not hope at all. Christ hasn’t just called us to be recipients of God’s grace, but agents of hope in this increasingly hopeless world.
The hope we have in Christ should turn hearts and heads all around us. If it isn’t, have we been guilty of keeping all this good stuff to ourselves?
Hide it under a bushel? No or yes?