There are many millions in our country who will never darken the door of a church, of any kind, however appealing it might be. Many follow the way of false religion, and many more follow a seeming no-religion. It has been categorically proved that God is dead, and no one will believe or wants to hear otherwise.
God is irrelevant, impotent and a fantasy, dreamed up by the feeble-minded, who have no backbone of their own to face life. There is no one able to reach those who see the love of God in this way, or teach, or preach, so, what are we to do?
Christians in these days have to adjust their mind set, see the people around them as Jesus saw them – sheep without a shepherd, wandering in the cold and dark of this world, straight into trouble, disappointment and loss.
Now is the time to demonstrate the love of Christ and show what he is like to a society that needs his love more than ever. We must gain the right to talk and share Christ’s truth, but more than that, we should demonstrate the beauty of his love and the truth of his heart of compassion, to every human soul, not wishing that any should perish.
This will involve courage and strength, insight and understanding of the problems that our neighbours face, and to try and meet with them at the point of most vulnerability. Huge numbers of people use substances to facilitate the effects of joy and peace, which never last and have the sting of death in the tail. Some realize what they are doing and are cynical in their abuse of mind changing chemicals, but many others don’t really grasp the enormity of what they are starting in their inner lives.
Others follow sexual experience, pursuit of wealth, which is not theirs, inhabit a social circle that is destructive to human dignity and spirituality. There are so many layers of trouble, like the circles in the descent into hell, in Dante’s inferno, winding down into progressive destitution and depravity. As followers of Christ, are we ready to face this? Will we go out, as he went out, to the “lowest layers” of human society and truly identify with them? Sit with those regarded as failures, evil, lazy and beyond hope or help.
This is the challenge in these days of breakdown and trivialization of what is most precious and the only remedy for the moral and spiritual sickness we experience. If we sit in our churches with polite friends and clean and tidy lives, we are ineffective, because most people are not sitting in the pews, but seeking highs and meaning on our streets. Our lives become silent, like our lips.
It is difficult, but if we don’t shake ourselves and rise to the challenge, our churches will remain closed enclaves of solid evangelical granite. Our soft hearts will eventually atrophy and we will sit there until God takes us out of the way, or closes the doors of our historical and theologically correct institutions.
We should sorrow over what we have become and grieve over the future. The only one who can turn this around, is the Son of God, who has all power and love and faith, and before he changes our world, he must change us again, so that he can work in and through us.
Are you feeling unhappy sitting in your usual pew every Sunday? Good. Step out in the real world and respond to the people who are out there, and prove the power of his love and let his mind overtake the natural cynicism we possess.