Be the church!

A friend of mine shared this in a group I’m part of on Facebook:

On the one hand, when the quarantine first began, I found the regular commercials very grating. They represented a world that no longer existed – a world where we could move about freely, where we weren’t afraid of crowds, where we could linger over dinner at a restaurant.

They felt like discordant notes – jarring and a bit painful as they underscored the ways that daily life had changed.

At first, the change to a more tone-appropriate kind of advertising felt, well, appropriate. In the daily drag of staying at home, the sense of doom that seemed to hover in the air, the grim faces of our leaders, the fact that car companies and stores and other brands started to sound more compassionate, more aware of the ways that the world had turned upside down, was appreciated. At least, by me. At least, at first.

But as the weeks have dragged on (maybe I’m slow!), I found myself responding to some of these ads with a bit of a sneer, or a roll of my eyes.

I’ve been thinking about why that is.

And what I’ve come to is the fact that these brands are consumer-driven. While it is always true that some companies invest in the good of their community or the global community, at the end of the day their main concern is the ‘bottom line.’ What drives them is profit. What creates profit is consumerism. Lots and lots of consumerism, as the video above suggests.

So why bring all of this up? Well, because the opposite is true of the church. The church should never be consumerism. We are always to be driven by compassion, by generosity, by kindness.

While most congregations are at least somewhat concerned about money during this shutdown, what I hear from friends and colleagues, is that we are far more concerned about how our people are doing, what each of us can do to help out others, and how to remain faithful in following Jesus in strange and uncertain times.

My Dad said to me recently, that the church has always risen to the occasion in difficult times. So I want to encourage you – the church is rising to the occasion even now. And you can be part of that. By praying for those on the front lines. By being kind to others. By sharing messages of hope and faith in whatever way you are able (I’m a big fan of sidewalk chalk and painted rocks and window-art!).

Until tomorrow, dear friends, remember what a privilege it is to be part of a body formed for compassion, given to the world for its needs. Be kind, be generous, be the church!

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