As I am on the eve of the close of yet another Annual Conference gathering the reflection has begun. A few times we sung together the classic hymn, "And Are We Yet Alive?". Historically this was the hymn the Wesley's shared with their clergy each time they gathered. It functioned to remind the clergy where life was found. This year as we sang the song it caused to wonder if our being alive was exactly the problem.
The church in America is alive. The problem is the church thinks its vitality is found in the human spirit. Based upon what we as humanity can do. Not always directly stated, yet often lived, we are asking God to help us as we run the church. Wrong, we are helping God as God runs the church. Today one of our speakers uttered the phrase, "We know what the church needs, bless us as we build our church again." There is too much humanity.
The power, direction and vision of the church is not founded in human hands, hearts or minds. It the church is founded in only one place, Jesus Christ. God is in charge and Jesus is the Head of the church. No longer should we ask God to bless us, rather we should do what God is blessing. The key to the church is not the life of humanity, it is found in humanity's willingness to die to ourselves.
For the church to come alive again, humanity must recapture the ability to die to ourselves and live in Christ. The only way the answer to the title of the previously mentioned hymn can be yes, is in Jesus Christ. It is not about what I want to see in the church, it is not about what you want to see in the church. God has made it plain in the Scriptures what it required of the church, the people of God, we do not need to figure out what God would have us do. We must live, not what we want, rather as God has already shown us.