Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Disconnecting Church

Ever since Highlands Church began, we have been focussing on the concept of Connection. To this end, we have the Connection Team that greets people every week - and that do and incredible job of making people feel welcome right from the time they park their cars. We have our Connection Time, after worship, where we offer good quality coffee and a time to meet one another. We have the Connection Moment in the middle of worship that is a form of the "Passing of the Peace" where we emphasize the importance of being a church that reaches out to one another. Every week when I write my sermon, the very first thing I ask myself, and the question I keep before me as I write my whole message is, "Will this connect?" "Will this meet people where they are?" Will I be connecting enough with the context of where people are on that particular given week, in this moment in time."

So, Connection is a big deal for us...

However, this past week, while teaching my mid-week Bible study on the book of Joshua, I came upon a word which really carries the opposite meaning of connection - it's the word "Consecrate". The Hebrew word for Consecrate is "QADASH" which means to literally separate from, to set aside, to make holy, to distinguish from. The word QADASH can also mean "chosen"; as in the Jewish people were God's chosen people, God's separate people, the people that God set aside. Before Joshua and the Israelites forged the Jordan river and entered the Promised Land, God said that they should, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you." (Joshua 3:5). God was, in essence, telling the Israelites to separate themselves, to set themselves aside, to designate themselves for something special. And that is, I am challenged to admit, what God is also telling us to do.

So, what are we supposed to do - to connect with people at all costs, or to separate ourselves from others at all costs. The answer is, of course, a series of dichotomies:

* We should mark ourselves as separate by being followers of Christ. We should QADASH as Christ followers.
* And yet, this separateness should not be a mark of arrogance or elevated self importance, class distinction, educational elitism, social stratification.
* We should be separate in doing what Christ teaches and commands. We should QADASH on Christ's commands.
* And yet, we should continue to connect with those who do not follow his commands, at least as far as it does not impact our own ability to be separate.
* We should realize and recognize that by being followers of Christ we have a special mark, a special call, a special designation. We are a people of QADASH.
* And yet, we should remember that our special distinction comes not as a result of our own justification, but only through Christ's death.

Up until now, Highlands has striven to be a Connecting Church. This evening, I am contemplating what it means to be a Disconnection Church. Connected and Disconnected...

All for Now,

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