Friday 24 November 2017
“A community cannot remain static. It is not an end in itself. It is like a fire which must spread even at the risk of burning out. A moment comes when a community can only grow through separation…”
It amazes me that Jesus never worried about “numbers.” He didn’t care about how many people come to our church or show up at our potluck supper. Paul didn’t either. For Jesus, where two or three are gathered, that was enough.
On the other hand, the early disciples worried a lot about numbers. They worried that there might too many—how will we feed them all??? And, they worried that the authorities might begin to wonder if the group was getting too big, big enough to cause a revolution, a real threat to the Roman empire.
Nowadays, some church people worry about the numbers being too small. If Jesus didn’t, why should we? The “focus on numbers” really only started when religion joined up with the “empire.” And that was really all about power and domination.
Back then, nobody thought about the consequences of going from a small band of powerless nobodies to a dominant world-wide presence of power and authority. The way Jesus imaged the “empire” of God has been reversed by the way that the church has developed and incorporated its vision of God’s empire. And even though we’ve still got “good numbers,” we’re hardly a threat to the status quo. We’re more like, what the scriptures refer to as “onlookers,” and “passers-by.” A radical group? Christians? A revolutionary threat? Hardly. We’re more like friends watching a Saturday football game on television. And those fans at least have real spirit.
Where are all the holy ones? Those with eyes to see and ears to hear?
Maybe it’s time, once again, to take off our shoes.