I think that we can all agree that the Church in America is a bit of a mess right now, and so I – a simple blogger though I be – want to propose a simple solution. If all followers of Jesus, regardless of denominational background, would agree to what I am about to propose, we might just be able to start turning things around.
The first part of my proposal is this: set aside the month of April. No matter what you and your church have planned, just set it aside. Does your church follow some sort of liturgical calendar that helps you plan the focus of your worship? Set it aside for April. Do you have a big sermon series planned for that time? Hold off until May.
“Wait!” I can hear some of you saying. “The first Sunday of April is Easter! Does this simple blogger realize this?”
Of course I do! That’s why I chose April! And yes, I know that you probably have something big planned for that day. Special music, a drama maybe – and maybe you’ve already put down the deposit on a rented donkey. Well, keep your normal big plans in place, but pastors should plan to preach something else than what they’ve already planned, and I’ll get to that something else in a moment.
But before I do, keep in mind that for this to work, everyone has to be in on it. Catholics, Baptists (all stripes), Episcopalians, Presbyterians, churches of Christ, Non-denominationals, Pentecostals… everyone.
And it needs to be across the racial, cultural, political, and language lines, too. The saying goes that the most segregated hours in America are on Sunday morning, and so this is something that needs to happen no matter what your congregation looks like. Are you a Trump supporter? A Never-Trumper? A Republian? A Democrat? A Libertarian? It doesn’t matter. For this proposal to work, it needs to involve anyone and everyone who claims to follow Christ. EVERYONE.
Speaking of which, maybe you are a person who considers yourself a Christian, but you don’t feel the need to go to an organized church. For the month of April you should. Maybe you’re an Easter/Christmas Christian, and you’re just not interested in the other fifty Sundays of the year. Well, you need to include church on your schedule for the month of April. You’ll be there for April 1 anyway, so just keep coming for four more Sundays.
It’s just a month, and it’s really important.
But what happens in April? What is this big proposal that I’m making, and insisting on as being so very important and potentially groundbreaking? This is the best part, because it’s really easy.
I mean, really, really easy:
I propose that every Christian in America spend the month knee-deep in Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.
That’s it. That’s all I’m proposing.
I’m simply suggesting that we Christians in America, all of us, commit to spending one month collectively wrestling with Jesus’s words about what it really means to follow Him. That we work through the Beatitudes, and find out who is truly blessed in God’s eyes. That we learn about true murder and turning the other cheek. That we – all of us – sit and listen to Jesus’s tough teaching on how we respond to enemies and figure out just who is supposed to take care of the needy, and how to pray. Forgiveness, mercy, worry and fear – the sermon has it all. And we all need a refresher course.
Because folks, the Church is in trouble, and not because of some outside threat. We’re in trouble because of the way we’re treating each other and the way we’re treating those outside the church.
We really need Jesus to help us to see this, and the Mount Sermon could do it.
That’s it. That’s my simple proposal. And while I know that it’s probably impossible that we could pull it off…
can you imagine what might change in our country if we did?
If your pastors aren’t into changing their preaching plans, then go ahead and commit to a personal in-depth study yourself, or get a group together to do it!