Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Sermon: Laodacia and the American Church

I hate to say this, on the eve of Memorial Day, but most of the American church has become the church of Laodecia. Eager to keep up a good image. Eager to be comfortable. Eager to talk more about our faith than live our faith. Eager to live by faith in the Almighty dollar than Almighty God. Eager to play church on Sunday, and pay our dues with the “church thing”, but then live the rest of our life as though God does not exist—pursuing our egos and our pleasures with reckless abandon. Quick to talk about compassion, slow to be compassionate. Willing to talk about how we as Christians are strangers and aliens in a land that is not our home, but unwilling to welcome the literal strangers and aliens in our midst.

We would do well to remember the saints that came before us. Prophets who were killed. Martyrs who refused to worship the emporer. Reformers who refused to repudiate solid Biblical teaching. People who did not see faith in Jesus as part of their life, but as the way the truth and the life itself.

We would do well to remember our forefathers and foremothers, who in spite of their foibles and failures at certain points had the courage to live their faith wholeheartedly and courageously. People who were so committed to their faith that they set out to make a home in a strange land rather than compromise their convictions in Europe. There were the puritans that faced death on sea, and starvation in the Massachusetts colony. There were the Baptists who were jailed in England and whipped in Massachussets until they found a home in Rhode Island. There were Quakers who stood for peace through the many wars in the new land, and who stood against slavery even when it cost them everything. There were abolitionists who stood against slavery in the name of Jesus. Sufferagists who fought for the right for women to vote because they believed men and women were both made in the image of God. Civil rights leaders in the last century who believed that nonviolent protest was better than violent uprising for civil rights because they believed that they should live the commands of loving our neighbor and the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount in order to effect change.

When I look at some of those saints of old, and I look at our “me first”, let me do what I feel, God is here to make me wealthy, I go to church to help me feel good kind of Christianity, I only want to sing my favorite kind of music in church or I won’t go kind of Christianity and it is no wonder the lukewarm church made God want to puke. It kind of makes me want to do the same once in a while.

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