Tonight at IKON Brian taught brilliantly on three chapters of Genesis but the highlight of the night was straight from the New Testament. When we love the least – scripture tells us – we love Jesus. Somehow the lowest and ignored become living sacraments, connections between man and Messiah. Somehow the essence of Christ spills through them to us and somehow our love flows through them to God. They become, essentially, conduits for two-way affection between Creator and created. Amazing. If we get it.
And this is the central message, in everything I sing and speak about, of my career thus far. We exist not only to know God but to make Him known by loving people. In doing so we worship and commune with God. I often wonder if we get it, if I get it. I’ve heard this so many times it can become theological furniture pushed against the walls of my heart while lesser theories and passions take up more space in the center of the room. I play shows where I sell more t-shirts than kids are sponsored through Compassion International. I meet ministers who spend tens of thousands on a new set of jumbotrons but just cut their mission budget, who have four people on staff to “lead worship” while no dedicated staff member exists to lead worshipers from singing into service. And I wonder, “Will we ever get it?”
Then a hurricane hits and churches mobilize to house and clothe and feed strangers. Mayors call pastors and beg them for benevolence mighty Caesar cannot provide. The Church awakens from it’s slumber, stops it’s singing, and starts serving. Lives are sustained. Prayers are answered. God grows hands and feet. And Jesus is loved well.
Or tonight happens. A smaller group than normal shows up at IKON to study an Old Testament passage. And the night closes with a simple announcement about special needs children in our church being without teachers on Sundays. The small gathering is asked to sign up if they could volunteer once a month to play with these kids while their parents get a break and the chance to attend a church service – something many of them rarely get to do.
The cynic I am, I figure we might get one volunteer. These are young professionals, newlyweds, college students. Busy people. They don’t have time for this kind of commitment. And I’ve been going to this church long enough, begging for volunteers to watch healthy kids in the preschool department long enough, to know people here would rather sing than serve. But I was surprised. These folks at IKON are different somehow. They get it. Not all of them, but enough. There was an outpouring of mercy on these kids in need. Seven people immediately signed up to serve. And there were more who needed to leave but wanted to know if they could sign up later this week.
This shouldn’t surprise me. But it does. And not just because it’s rare in the churchess I visit every week. But because it’s often rare in me. When we love the least we love Jesus. I get it.