- 9:30am: Prayer for our Church
- 9:45am: Sunday School
- 10:55am: Worship
- 3:00pm: After-School Tutoring
- 5:30pm: Wednesday Night Dinner
- 6:15pm: Wednesday Night Program
- 7:00pm: Choir Practice
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. – John 4:39-41
One of the things I regularly notice about Jesus is how poorly he would fare today in most of our churches. This is a guy who doesn’t mince any words, telling the truth to all whether they like it or not. This is a man who doesn’t seem to fear about what others will think, recognizing the power of truth. Certainly Jesus was filled with love, and the scriptures tell us that Christ was filled with compassion for the people, but even when faced by the frailties of human existence, he told the truth in love, helping those who he met to see things about themselves that they were hiding under layers of masks and self-deception.
In the church we have built up the myth that avoiding the truth is okay. We may not overtly lie to one another, but we aren’t necessarily very honest with one another, often hesitant to reveal our true feelings and desires. This is especially true in the South, where we have taken the “…bless his heart…” obfuscation to a new level. My wife Kay calls it “toxic Christian niceness,” for our inability to speak the truth, our unwillingness to share of our true feelings, our hesitancy to speak for fear of attack, infects our lives together and keeps us from being the community God created us to be. This unwillingness to be completely honest and to avoid transparency is part of what often turns non-church folks away from the church, leading to the stereotype of hypocrisy that undermines our attempts to reach out in love.
However Jesus shows us another way in his interaction with the Samaritan woman. The woman, who was challenged in her status by both gender and ethnicity, began to tell others about Jesus because he was completely honest with her about her life and his identity. “He didn’t beat around the bush,” she told the people in her village, “No, he told me everything I had ever done.” That degree of honesty was compelling for all of us, if we are true with ourselves, need the freedom to be who we are, warts and all. It was through Christ’s honesty with the woman that others came to experience Jesus as well, and as John tells us, “…many more became believers.”
Our parents used to tell us that “honesty is the best policy,” and in the church it is part of the way that we show who Jesus is.
May we cast aside our toxic Christian niceness, recognizing it for the poison that it is. And may be take the risk to be real with one another, trusting that Jesus will be in our midst when we do.
Howdy everybody! I hope you have had a great Christmas and enjoyed the winter weather to boot. We will be gathering for worship tomorrow on Dec. 26 at 10:50 a.m. Sunday School classes are canceled.
We look forward to seeing you soon,
It's Wednesday and all of the weather forecasts seem to be suggesting that the roads will be treacherous by this evening, so we have made the decision to cancel Wednesday night dinner and Choir practice. Given my close proximity to the church, I will be opening the Sanctuary for prayer and meditation, but we won't be having a formal service. Come if you feel safe to do so, or take some time to enjoy family and meditate on the the meaning of the incarnation at home.
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