Ezekiel 3:1 And he said to me, "Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel."
While I do not pretend to be Ezekiel but this morning I do feel the need to speak to a particular "house" of believers who have been insulted and patronized in the name of religion.
A letter was mailed out to members of a church my family attended a little over a year ago recently and with great wisdom my wife threw it in the garbage before I had the chance to read it. However, last night a great buddy of mine shared with me the content of the letter and it really chapped my backside...as it has others. In short, the letter reminded people who are prone to travel during the summer months to remember that they should still send money to the church. To make it easier for people to make sure their money ends up at the church even when they are not, the people may opt to have the money automatically withdrawn from their accounts or in some way direct deposited into the church account. (I think I just threw up a little in my mouth from just typing such swill). In my satirical and at times cynical mind I can just hear people in the meeting as they decide to send out the letter..."money always decreases in the summer because people travel and when they aren't here we can't guilt them into giving us money to further our organization so maybe we should find another way in which to guilt people into giving. I know how about a good reminder that we mail out. We can tell them that it is sinful should they not continue to give money so we can have a nice building to use 2 days per week and many full time staff...some of whom can't tell you exactly what they do for 40 hours per week to save their lives."
I am afraid if I was asked to eat that letter like Ezekiel was instructed to eat the scroll I would gag and probably develop some obscure gastrointestinal disease that would eventually lead to some level of disability or death. I have thought and prayed since last night about my attitude regarding such displays of institutionalized pretension. I have considered calling someone at the church to request my name be removed from the mailing list so I never get such disgustingly shameful crap again or perhaps I should ignore it and realize that the influx of numbers or cash or both is simply intoxicating and dangerous to most people. Well, I decided to pen another letter to the people who received the insulting garbage. Perhaps another letter can salve my harsh feelings and help others who were offended by the initial letter focus on something more pleasant than Ecclesiastical Greed...so here it is. I hope it helps us all.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Summer time is here and we rejoice in the fact that many of you will have the opportunity to travel and enjoy God's creation with your friends and family. The leadership here would like for you to be aware of several things as you are away.
Please know that we will pray specifically for everyone to have safe travels and to return to us safely. Additionally, we will be praying specifically that God reveals to you his boundless love for you and others as you explore his creation this summer. We will also pray that the Light of Jesus will flow from you and that your presence in various places will make a lasting impact for the Kingdom of God as you strive in everything you do to carry out the Mission of God to seek, save and serve the lost.
May we suggest that you view your travels this year in a new and inviting light. That is to ask that as you travel perhaps you can pray about visiting other fellowships of Jesus. You will be blessed by the diversity and perhaps can bring back with you interesting experiences and ideas to bless others. Perhaps you may want to plan your trips in ways that will allow your family to spend some time serving the poor, homeless and otherwise unfortunate people in the cities you explore. Your family will be blessed by serving others and your children will especially benefit from seeing that God's work is needed everywhere we go.
If you are away from our gatherings this summer we will miss you greatly and anxiously await your return. Rest assured that we will continue the work God has put before us and will press on to the goal of the upward call of Christ. Go in peace and live an abundant life!
Grace and Peace,
Your Servants of the Good News
OK, I feel better now. If God leads you out of town or if you hangout around your house all the time, never feel obligated to be yoked to traditions, organizations or institutionalized churches. Instead, be yoked to the Messiah and operate in the extreme freedom granted us by the One who was, is and is to come.
"YOU ARE NOW FREE TO MOVE ABOUT THE KINGDOM"