This morning’s reading came from Zechariah, one of those minor prophets that few approach outside of seminary assignments. But this is why I love a good devotional read (I’m currently using Solo and would recommend it to my friends), much like preaching from the lectionary. It forces you to deal with passages you’d otherwise like to skip.
Today’s message included a reminder of God’s word to his people: “You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in people.” And Zechariah reminded the people of the previous message that repeats itself over and over in the prophetic books:
Treat one another justly.
Love your neighbors.
Be compassionate with each other.
Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors and the poor.
Don’t plot and scheme against one another – that’s evil.
This kind of message is par for course for the past several weeks. But the reflection questions caught me:
1. If God were looking directly at you and saying these versus, what would He mean by “You’re into religion, I’m into people”?
2. Who do you know needing justice love and compassion?
3. Which of your religious activities do you think might merely be meeting your own selfish needs? Examine them.
And suddenly some 9-year-old-boy drove by on his bicycle and chucked a stone at the house and hit me between the eyes!
At least, that’s how it felt.
I can’t explain to you the frustration I feel in beginning to seek a church home for 362nd time. We just want to connect. To serve. To connect.
But this passage squarely asked me to examine my motives and totally called me out that I can be serving, and loving, and fulfilling God’s call Monday – Saturday while we find our People. And perhaps Sunday has come to be a bit more for me than for Him.
A church family is a non-negotiable for us. We need the practice of setting aside time. We need people around us. We need teaching. If I don’t surround myself with others, I may start to believe myself to the fullest extent when I say I’m always right.
But a church family isn’t a pre-requisite for living with God’s purposes and will in mind. I don’t need the church secretary to create a sign-up sheet to love the widow across the street. I don’t need the youth director to create an event so that I can be friendly to the high school baseball player who watches our dog.
A community is helpful for holding us accountable, but it’s not required to start today living and loving as God wishes we would. God’s not as interested in religion, the patterned acts of pseudo-devotion that makes us feel better about ourselves. He’s interested in people. And even a part-stay-at-home, part-work-at-home, my-van-never-leaves-the-house mom is surrounded by those. It’s not a matter of being equipped, it’s a matter of taking my eyes off of 2503 and looking down the entire Drive.