Our Gospel this week is Matthew 21.23-32 and it concerns itself with power and authority to teach and preach. It occurs to me that in this world, there are many who want authority and many more who seek power, thinking that possessing these things will make them secure and safe. What Christians often miss is that power and authority are not for personal use but for the good of the community in which they participate. Power and authority are given to the Church by God to serve him in the world and others through his power motivated by God love and compassion for the world. All power and authority belong to God. Power and authority are gifts, given to be held and used for the sake of others not to be used as weapons for maintaining the status quo of the powerful and the gifted.
The strength of a Christian’s life is the witness that is put forth for the world to see. You see, it is not enough to come within four walls and pay what amounts to lip service to a creed and expect that this is all that there is to the Christian faith. If you do get involved and you don’t become active, then how do you know that you actually believe? I know many people around me these days who will openly say, “Oh I’m not religious. I spiritual.” It is not that they don’t want to be identified as believing in God, it is that they do not want to identify or have others identify them as being a part of the Church. they stand back and look at the state of the Church and recognize that the Church in North America has moved away from the teachings of Scripture to try and be popular and trendy so that people will give to support burgeoning budgets for buildings and programs. Show me a person who claims to be “spiritual” and I will study them and explain their religious liturgy to you.
This is why we need to work on our own relationships with God and with each other so that we can bring a different, a better relationship for the disaffected, the disillusioned, the disinterested to discover. Jesus came to us to restore and rebuild those relationships. And if that means a little death for the institution of the Church and the personal agendas and plans of the Church’s leadership, so be it. We need to learn again to listen to the voice of the Lord and to submit ourselves personally and corporately work together for the sake of the coming life and kingdom.
Don’t just have a faith – even the devil manages this. Have the courage and the conviction of that faith to let your faith move you into places and spaces where he can bless you even more than you are now, that you might serve him in greater and mightier ways and the kingdom through your ministry combined with all our various ministries, builds for the day when he comes again and the kingdom arrives in its fullness. He will give you the power (energy) you need to do this and the authority to accomplish it. He who has called you, is faithful and he will do it.