There are times when we feel like nobody cares about us. Sometimes, we feel all alone. That sense of being alone in the world is brutal. It lays us bare. It can feel like a million pounds is weighing us down.
This sense of being alone in the world and that nobody cares is not something new. It is common to the human experience.
Some Bible passages make us super uncomfortable in the modern era. It's often because we don't take time to think about what they're saying and what they're not saying.
The Scriptures were not written in a vacuum, culturally or otherwise. Neither should we interpret them that way. Nor are all passages written in the same genre and so we must take the time to understand what is happening in a particular passage.
Psalm 122 is one of those kinds of passages.
Have you ever noticed that life isn't quite as easy as everyone says it's supposed to be?
Our conversations so often look like this:
“How are you?”
“Fine. Everything's good.”
Then you find out they are dealing with marital problems, cancer, or something else super hard.
Why do we need to gather together in community? Have you ever thought about it? Seriously, why?
To gather in community is not something that only Christians do. People from all kinds of religions meet together. Non-religious people gather in community, why? What is it about gathering together that we feel the necessity to do so?
Today, I launch a new podcast series on #LoveWell called, “A Faithful Presence.” I will be walking through David Fitch's Faithful Presence: Seven Disciplines That Shape the Church for Mission and discussing how we are living these disciplines out in our Missional Communities.
Before I dive in though, I wanted to talk about what I mean by Missional Community. I riffed off a nice little article by Brad Brisco where he defines “Missional Community.”
There are few passages in the Scriptures that have impacted me more than 2 Corinthians 5. The whole chapter is amazing as it centers on the reality of the one who seeks to follow Jesus is a “new creation.” The ultimate result of this new reality is that the follower of Jesus is called an “ambassador” and is entrusted with the “ministry of reconciliation.”
As you might imagine a pastor is connected with a lot of people and accounts online about religion. My feeds are filled with other religious people and with people critical of religious people. If there is one particular kind of thread that I see often it goes like this:
Christians only care about getting folks “saved.” The rampant hypocrisy of >the Christian is overwhelming. I love Christ but despise Christians.
To be clear, the particulars of this thread change, but that's the heart of it. I see it from Christians and non-Christians. I see it from theists and atheists.
One of my favorite lines in any comic book or movie is the one from Uncle Ben, Peter Parker's uncle in Spiderman. He said to his nephew, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
That line is memorable because I think we know that it is inherently true. We live in a world where so often we see the opposite. People with great power in our culture tend to abuse it. The powerful, with many exceptions, often use their power to amass more power. The wealthy, with many exceptions, use their wealth to amass more wealth.
There's a line in a prayer that I reflected on this morning that says,
Let us bless thee at all times and forget not how thou hast
forgiven our iniquities,
healed our diseases,
redeemed our lives from destruction,
crowned us with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
satisfied our mouths with good things,
renewed our youth like the eagles. (Valley of Vision, 382)
There are two responses this that run through my heart and mind to this and they are intertwined. I think that they feed into one another.
In the long history of Christianity there have been many “rules.” These treatises of living have had profound impact in the life and ministry of the faith. From Benedict to Francis to the modern day, the “Rule” has been a means by which to order one's life.
Over the past number of months I have been thinking a great deal about my social media and how I use it. I have listened to and taken in the reactions of people in my life to how I use social media. Their responses and perceptions have helped to shape this rule.
Beyond that I took some time to read through my “activity” on Facebook, approximately 13 years of social media usage. What I saw there has also significantly shaped this rule.
Finally, I hope by writing this out and publishing it publicly, I will learn to live by it. My desire is to live life to the full and to #LoveWell.