What Does This Say About Us?
Dr. Luke wrote the book of Acts to describe the birth and growth of the Christian Church. Early on, in chapter 2, this is his summary comment about the early Christians: “Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” Acts 2.44-47
This verse makes me wonder: do we enjoy the favor of all the people in our community? Of course, “all” is an impossible standard and I suspect it was hyperbole for Luke, too. So, then… do we enjoy the favor of most of the people of our community? Even those who worship elsewhere? Or who don’t worship at all? Whatever they know of us, little or great, does it endear us to them? Do they feel like Gig Harbor is better off because we are here than if we were not? Do our good deeds point to the goodness of God?
This is a tough question because the church, if it is faithful to the gospel, always has a counter-cultural message that can sting. If we obey Jesus’ teachings, there will be times when we say or stand for things that are offensive to the culture. To do less would probably be unfaithful.
Still, it would be nice to think that all things considered, despite those issues with which they are in complete disagreement… it would be nice to think that the majority of our community would say, “Yes, Chapel Hill makes a good difference in this community. Those folks on that hill love kids. They take care of the poor. They care for those in the prison. They provide wonderful services and can be counted on in an emergency. Yes, we would be the poorer without Chapel Hill in our town.” Would it be that these praises ultimately lead to the praise of God!
I wonder if this year of Jubilee isn’t a perfect opportunity to do even more to bless our community? We’ve been brainstorming what they might look like. A leaf-raking Sunday where everyone comes to church, rake in hand and then deploys to nearby neighborhoods? A business-blessing Sunday that lifts up and prays for those who provide jobs in our community? Service teams that go to other churches and help with a project? A free wedding weekend where we provide counseling, weddings, music and cake for those who can’t afford it? Or how about this one: an on-call service available to drive safely home those who have had too much to drink on a Friday night. (I know… out of the box, but we’re brainstorming here.)
What would your ideas be? How could you imagine that Chapel Hill might reach out and bless our community in this Year of Jubilee? I hope you’ll think, post, email, talk about it. We will never make everybody happy, but I would love it if we “enjoyed the favor of” at least a big chunk of the people of this town.
P.S. Congratulations to Lieutenant Bill Colberg, a Chapel Hill worshiper, who will retired in March after a 31 year career in our local police department. Well done, faithful servant!