Today, the United States has a legacy of school tragedies. Maybe you remember the first shocking incident, or perhaps not. It was a tragic shooting of several children at an elementary school. That following Sunday, I heard a great sermon and, briefly, a passing comment about this horrific event. Now, several years later, you may not hear any comment at all in church.
However, every time such a horrendous event occurs in our society, and you’re in church the following Sunday, every person over the age of 12 in the room woke up that morning with tragedy heavy on their hearts. Is it possible we’re actually getting used to mass shootings—of all kinds?
What has happened? It seems, for Christians, we often compartmentalize our faith and separate it from life. Why would we do that? The incarnation, where Christ becomes flesh, models that faith engages all of life—every bit of it. The good, bad, and ugly of life doesn’t go in one file and our faith and religious activities into a separate file. When Christianity becomes a file, just one among many that make up our life experience, what happens? It occurs that you access that file as a consumer—not a disciple. The consumer access file shows up at worship, on certain holidays, for most weddings, funerals, or at times of overwhelming tragedy like 9/11. It’s a brief
interlude of faith permeating life. And then, life goes back to normal, and Christianity goes back in the faith file.
Expanding this metaphor, it’s like how people use the cloud. It’s content that is there when you need to access it. It’s like spirituality when you need it.
Importantly, Christianity is not content on file in the cloud. It is better understood as a faith life lodged in your heart. It is your heart, not a file. You can’t live without it. Not really live. No one can.
Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, abundantly” (John 10:10). Much of how churches operate, and preachers preach, and Christian teachers teach, is compartmentalization by absence of engagement. What does that say about your life? And what does this say about the way we do church, the way we live Christianity in this community called the body of Christ? He is the head. You can’t live without a head, either. Not for a millisecond, not for a day, not through a good time, not through a bad time, not ever. What does this say about how we do church?